Maria Cornejo has been obsessed with the British television show “Victoria” as of late, so much so that it informed her latest collection. It’s an ostensibly odd pairing, a period marked by its restrictive nature and corsetry and a designer known for celebrating the freedom of the body and the promise of what can be with her sculptural silhouettes.
After a bit more discussion, the real theme of the period came to light.
“It was a time of so much promise. So many things we have now were yet to be developed,” Cornejo explained backstage at The Standard, High Line where the show was held. The promise of what can be? That is a sentiment decidedly in Cornejo’s lane.
And as the looks came down the runway, her precise understanding of the body and experimentation came to light: There were ruched knit jackets forming a protective-like shell styled with rich cream pants, a black plissé style tunic with asymmetric hem, a corset used as belting, sealing up a blue pants suit. Each was a reimagined shape, like the work of a sculptor. Her palette of black, cream and blue was punched up with a dot jacquard done in black and white and orange and white. This was a modern collection about what a woman wants to wear now.
It’s been a busy week for Cornejo, who also launched a line of upcycled garments in collaboration with Hyundai, part of the car brand’s Re:Style initiative earlier this week. The designer created a 15-piece capsule collection, which incorporated a limited amount of leftover Hyundai car seat waste alongside Cornejo’s choice of responsibly created textiles, including 100 percent organic cotton bearing the Cradle-to-Cradle denim certification.
For a designer who is close to 100 percent made in New York and dedicated to reducing her carbon footprint, it is truly a promise of what can and should be.
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