Gabriela Hearst: Punta del Este in Paris
Paris Fashion Week loves few things more than a debut, and the biggest inauguration this season was the first French show of Gabriela Hearst.
Very much regarded as one of the coolest new names to emerge in the New York scene this past half-decade, Hearst skipped the American season this autumn to come to Paris. She presented inside the cloisters of the École des Beaux-Arts, her cast of 30 marching past a score of fine marble and stone statues. And statuesque is how the models looked in this very fine collection.
A key goal of contemporary fashion is to empower women, and few do this more so than Hearst, whose blend of New York sophistication and Latin American panache is a very winning and flattering formula.
Her opening looks were in fine Napa leather; from cleanly cut bonded dresses to ideal workwear blazers with blanket stitching. For sunny evening fêtes, elegant fluid dresses and cocktails in ivory or white aloe linen – often trimmed with charming seashells. Punta del Este posh and polished, all the way to the great multicolored crocheted frocks and marvelous volcanic-hued tie-dye ensembles.
Hearst is very much a lady born on the right side of the tracks – her father an important rancher in Uruguay, her husband scion of one of America’s wealthiest and most noted families. Yet she retains an honest earthiness, thanks to her rural roots, which makes her fashion and insistence on sustainability come across as real and true. And her brand and show supported a Verified Carbon Standard project to protect 100,000 acres of Peruvian rainforest near Machu Picchu, along with two native communities – Yine and Huitoto.
"This collection was the self-conscious taking over. Trying to get through the pandemic, and work with feeling rather than any thoughts," said Hearst post show.
A famously generous host, Hearst likes to serve lunch at her intimate shows, generally Uruguayan gaucho fare, which this Sunday meant tasty empanadas and barley risotto. The mood enhanced by a brilliant display from the great Spanish guitarist Leiva, who played a solo set at the cloisters fountain during the show.
Asked why it was important to come and show in Paris, she responded: "To bring the team up. I didn’t want to stunt our creative growth and showing here ensured that."
In a word, a completely successful entrance into Paris, by a house that seems poised for rapid growth.
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