For Pandemic Fashion Week, some designers are holding on for dear life to the traditional ways, while others are embracing this impossible moment. I’d go so far as to say that a designer like Collina Strada is speaking directly to our collective unhinged state. One possible remedy for COVID fatigue: imagining that you’re an unshackled animal roaming free on God’s beautiful green earth.
For its fall 2021 collection, “Collina-mals,” the brand teamed up with David Mattingly, the original artist responsible for every single Animorphs cover. In the show notes, designer Hillary Taymour asks, “What animal would you be?” Apparently, “It” girl and model Aaron Philip would be a tropical frog, playwright Jeremy O. Harris would be a Parasaurolophus from the Late Cretaceous period, and model Ruby Aldridge would be a cobrat — a mystical yet powerful creature with the head of a cobra and the body of a hairless cat.
Taking this question to heart, I Googled, “What are the benefits of being a lemur? An iguana? A soft-bodied marine-gastropod mollusk?” Having conducted much research, I felt deep within my heart that I’d like to be a raccoon — a trash panda, if you will. Sure, being an iguana would be nice, eating bugs and chilling somewhere tropical. But I’m a New Yorker, and, unfortunately, right now I am a New Yorker in lockdown. As a raccoon, I could roam the city free, eating weed, getting drunk on crab apples, and bamboozling the NYPD.
While Collina Strada has never shied away from a quirky presentation, the brand is actually quite serious about sustainability. Taymour used leftover materials from previous seasons, repurposed unsold deadstock fabrics from the Kantamanto market in Ghana, and partnered with the RealReal to use vintage pieces unfit for resale. The result is sheer floral bodysuits, stretch tanks, pleated skirts, button-down shirts, denim, and voluminous dresses with panniers — all in the brand’s signature trippy-print mishmash.
So what animal would you be? Watch “Collina-mals” here.