As the recipient of this year’s National Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian Award for Fashion Design, Willy Chavarria’s place amongst the milieu of established fashion architects is increasingly becoming set in stone. His previous Fall/Winter 2022 collection broke ground with the masses and paved the way for this season’s showcase.
Chavarria took New York Fashion Week to church for Spring/Summer 2023, utilizing New York’s Marble Collegiate Church as the backdrop for a fluid runway collection. Designs of grandeur floated throughout the sanctuary, with double-breasted and extra-wide lapelled suiting, voluminous wide-legged trousers, soft sportswear and refined outerwear.
An air of 1950’s-style elegance was seen in certain collection items, e.g. his bell-shaped tops and robes with circular sleeves were reminiscent of archival, pre-war Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior womenswear. In addition to crepe-back and duchess satins fueling parts of the collection, enlarged hand-crafted satin ‘fabric bouquets’ were affixed to short-sleeved satin shirts and cascading wide-legged pants with fabric trains.
Contrastingly, Chavarria also reserved part of the collection for athletic apparel and referenced his hometown of Fresno, California, by placing varsity-styled font logos of “Fresno” and “Sacramento” onto delicate football jerseys – layered overtop of spread collar button-down shirts. Subtle collaborations with Dickies, FB County and Pro Club were also present on the runway, helping to meld together Chavarria’s narrative of influential American style mixed with a Latinx perspective.
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