A recent trip to the Middle East inspired designer Maria Cornejo. “I loved how the girl’s dressed,” she said at a private appointment in her showroom. “The whole modesty thing, thinking about what you don’t see.”
It had her meditating on “the elements of layering,” a spirit she poured into her latest offering, finding new ways to remix pieces. A black long-sleeve top under a caftan and pant in a botanical jacquard underscored the concept, and could work in either a day or night setting.
Her separates — asymmetrical tops, cocoon coats, wide-leg pants — felt like puzzle pieces to be mixed and matched, creating different silhouettes and forms, each offering Cornejo’s sensual ideas on protection.
Zero + Maria Cornejo Pre-Fall 2020
Fabric — ever the key to understanding her work — came in airy linens, organic cottons and recycled polyester, and with a continued focus on responsibility: Cornejo uses sustainable textiles whenever possible, and is dedicated to local production and reducing her carbon footprint, with 84 percent of the collection being made in New York City, and shipped in compostable packaging.
She has her eye on warm weather events, too, with soft tailoring on suiting, some with jacquards — great for a summer wedding or an evening soiree under the stars.
Across the whole collection was the tension of masculine vs. feminine dress, a theme she continues to successfully explore.
On the more casual side, she continues to evolve her eco-denim; introduced at resort it now will be shown along with both pre-collections. The assortment is made of 100 percent organic cotton. In black, deep blue and white with topstitching details and raw edges on a mix boxy shapes, it had a spirit of workwear. Other relaxed pieces included a mix of French terry sweats in earthy tones, each another building block in Cornejo’s strong take on a layered wardrobe.
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