Real housewives of sustainable fashion

The eye doesn’t always know where to settle.

On a purple and orange wicker purse with a frog? On the rhinestone horns attached to the top of the lime green sneakers? On the protruding heart-shaped hips of the pink velvet cape, formed by the old-fashioned side loops?

Visiting the Collina Strada set is like being greeted by a delegation from another planet. The models, in mismatched candy-colored clothing, are a new species, bred from goth shopping mall rats and granola girls. They don’t stand and pose. They frolicked and stomped their feet.

This Monday in February, they were released from their grim fantasy world and into a rented studio in South Brooklyn. Here, the brand is working on a project to bridge the gap between our world and theirs: a parody of the mid-2000s reality show “The Hills” (Collina translates as “hill” in English). Italy) with some “Real Housewives” energy.

“Collinas,” premiere a week later, on February 16 at New York Fashion Week, not the company’s first fashion film. In September 2020, as the pandemic forced studios to swap out their runway shows for online presentations, it released a video titled “Change is so cute. ”

At the time, digitizing fashion shows wasn’t ideal for many designers, who might have depended on traditional live formats to reach buyers, editors, and editors. influential people. However, Collina Strada saw an opportunity to fully express the world they had envisioned for their clothing – something that was only truly possible in digital form.

“Change Is Cute” unfolds on a white bull (dyed purple and covered in orange spots) and a bull (painted with rainbow flowers) roaming a hilly landscape (except for the hills covered in the hand-drawn fruit wallpaper). It just received weird from that.

This season, Collina Strada decided to continue building the world through video. (After “Change Is Cute” comes “Collina Land”, a video games sponsored by Gucci as part of communication for emerging designers and “Collina-malsOne project invited David Mattingly, the artist behind the sci-fi series “Animorphs”). The difference this time is that the film is scripted.

Hillary Taymour, 34, founder and creative director of Collina Strada, said she wanted to make a “pure fashion comedy”.

Ms. Taymour didn’t keep up with “The Hills” when it aired on MTV from 2006 to 2010. However, she was around “The Hills,” living in Los Angeles, and going to the same clubs as the others. its stars, who were also the same age. Miss Taymour was similarly dressed, though “the party girl is more indie chic”, she said: tank top, bold eyeliner, American Apparel jeans and Marc by Marc Jacobs heels.

“I don’t even wash my hair,” she said. “I still haven’t.”

While she founded Collina Strada in 2009, the brand’s visual identity (dyed and lace-up; use of natural materials like “cylinders” made from rose bush waste; casting models not a droopy white woman but a non-binary, disabled person, sexist) that didn’t crystallize until about 2019, she said. That was the year she was a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Foundation, a prestigious award for emerging American designers.

Just as the first episode of “The Hills” revolved around its star, Lauren Conrad, starting a fashion internship, “The Collinas” tells the story of an intern just starting out at Collina Strada.

That intern is played by Tommy Dorfman, whom Miss Taymour had in mind when she wrote the script. Miss Dorfman is an actress and filmmaker who, last September, became a leading fixture and guest of honor at parties and runway shows. In a process that she likens to dating fashion designers, Ms. Dorfman has experiment with the following clothes to make clear her identity as a transgender woman.

She and Miss Taymour bonded almost immediately. Ms. Dorfman, who was generous with both compliments and improvisation on set, was captivated by the designer’s thoughtfulness; other brands will send her unsolicited, over-packaged gifts, as they often do with celebrities and influencers, hoping they’ll post free bags or clothes on Instagram or be seen wearing them in a paparazzi photo.

Miss Taymour will ask, “Do you like these socks?” Mrs. Dorfman said, then give them to her child for dinner.

In the original script of “The Collinas”, Ms. Dorfman’s character innocently entered the New York fashion world, with little interest in the real work. Her reaction, in an early version of the script, upon getting the job: “Sustainability is hot!” Other Collina Strada employees were snobby, for example, judging her for not paying attention to her own crystal-encrusted refillable water bottle (a real product made by the brand). ).

The joke seems to be in any fashion brand that considers itself sustainable, including Collina Strada, whose view is that it’s not.

“The best way to make things clear is through humor,” Ms. Dorfman said in between. She wears a shirt blouse over a periwinkle silk dress over patterned pants. The oversize layers are tied with a studded belt, which is attached with a small strip from the kilogram skirt. She was about to shoot a scene in which she was asked to steam a pair of shiny silver pants and failed the task. Charlie Engman, Ms. Taymour’s longtime collaborator, is reminding the actors not to look at the camera.

On the table next to Miss Dorfman is a list of inspirational “Housewives” slogan idea: “I love posting and composting,” “The only thing unsustainable about me are my haters,” “How much do I care for the environment? Even the bags under my eyes are reusable.”

“If you can’t make fun of yourself, who can?” Ms. Taymour said by phone a few days after filming. “Fashion takes itself very seriously. Like, ‘I used 50% less water in this one garment, this one time’. Come on you. We can take care of everything and do our part, but no fashion brand saves the world. I don’t care what they say in the press. Not so. “

There was a high-pitched squeak at the end of her line. “Sorry, my dog ​​just sneezed,” she said. (Powwow the Pomeranian also filmed a confession scene in “The Collinas.”)

As the pandemic unfolds, fashion organizations are finding ways to support small brands, leading to a number of breakthroughs for Collina Strada, like consists of in Gucci’s Vault for Young Designers and the Met’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibition. Gucci also paid for Mrs. Taymour to attend the Met Gala. On the red carpet, Ms wear Lime green trousers and a large pony head necklace hung loosely over her shoulders, the look made her feel armored and reminded her not to take the industry too seriously.

“Its just fashion,” she said. “If you’re not happy, what’s the point? At least with dressing. ”

It is the brand’s small size that allows Ms. Taymour to think this way, she said; she doesn’t respond to the board or the parent company, and that shows in the way she presents her collections. Projects like “The Collinas” or “Change Is Cute” are not about creating the perfect image to sell new clothes, but about capturing the “vibe of the image.”

“Which I think would be taken away completely if it was a larger company,” Ms. Taymour said. “Would I be able to hire the people I hired if there were hundreds of millions of dollars on the way? I don’t know because they’re all wild cards, and that’s what makes it interesting.”

But pettiness also has its downsides. The budget for “The Collinas” was $100,000 (paid for by the Cash App), which means the tight schedule meant that Taymour barely had time to eat while filming. Finally, she stood up.

She wants to expand into shoes, but it will take a lot of $250,000 to start producing the design she has in mind, using the most sustainable methods available to her. And that’s the challenge: growing the business while staying true to the “Collina girl”, the environmentally conscious anarchist, inside.

This season some new merchandise pants have been dyed using sprinkles. While dyeing them, “sitting in the studio, heating my hair with a hair dryer,” Ms. Taymour realized, she said, “I really am a psychopath.”

“It looks great,” she said. “But how do you extend the hot water fountain?” Real housewives of sustainable fashion

Fry Electronics Team

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