See the entire Winnie Fall 2021 collection:
Winnie Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear collection, runway looks, beauty, models, and reviews.
A year and a world ago, Idris Balogun debuted Winnie in Paris—a euphoria that lasted just days, tops. But even in his bluest moments since, the designer said over Zoom, he has been able to reconnect with why he fell in love with fashion in the first place: hand craftsmanship. Even the parts he never particularly relished, like sewing buttonholes, offered time for introspection. “There are always imperfections, but they’re done consciously, so the garment is yours and completely different from everything else,” he said.
Producing in New York City meant that he could rehome sewing machines fast. And reaching out to those he admires led to Winnie’s first artistic collaboration. A video accompanying the fall collection introduces the Jamaican Canadian artist Tau Lewis, who builds real and imagined geographies “out of nothing,” as she puts it, using materials that are found, donated, or recycled. Their conversation gave Balogun a chance to tap into lessons gleaned from mentors like Christopher Bailey, formerly of Burberry, and Tom Ford.
“Art is so central to their way of life and thinking,” noted Balogun. “I think creative directors risk getting lost in the direction part. What interests me with Tau is being the conduit. I don’t want to just make a clothing version of her work.”The original idea was to have Lewis do an in-store installation. Instead, their mutual experiences of the African diaspora came to the fore in the clothing itself, with the designer taking cues from the artist’s chromatics and padded, quilted sculptures while also “controlling the chaos” through tailoring. The crisp white ensemble shown here is a case in point: Its double-breasted blazer is constructed using four different materials—twill, gabardine, linen wool, and wool crêpe. headtopics.com
In a similar vein, “liquid” silk velvet gained structure through Balogun obsessing over things like shoulder roping until it fell perfectly. The designer readily admits that piece is an ode to his time in Mr. Ford’s studio. The elaborate simplicity of a minimalistic black slip dress is the result of untold hours spent studying and draping a single sheet of fabric. “I want to encapsulate the idea of form. I never try to complicate things with cut,” he explained.
Lewis’s trove of leather scraps also gave Balogun his first chance to work with that material, not to mention show off his chops: a pair of vintage goatskin rugs became the trench shown here in Look 19 (it’s already spoken for). A tailored vest and jacket in upcycled cowhide also fused tailoring with draping techniques.
In an entirely different register, Balogun riffed on Lewis’s padded sculptures by seizing on the idea of parachute pants and blowing them out of proportion. Cut to sit high on the waist, with an elongated zipper and down filling, those clashed with the rest of the collection’s svelte leanings, which even extended to some savvy twists on the classic cable knit. Those will probably catch on whether or not next fall finds “loungewear” still atop must-have lists.Read more: Vogue Runway »
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