runway New York

Claudia Li Fall/Winter 2016

It’s as if she were a cross between Cristobal Balenciaga and Comme des Garçons with a touch of Jessica Simpson. Interesting, yes? In Claudia Li’s sophomore collection for NYFW, Ms. Li demonstrates extraordinary technical skills. Her draping, pattern work and construction are perfection, as if she were a machine. And her presentation was pristine.

But we have to talk about the clothes. Li understands design expertly. That shows in every aspect of her work. Inventive detailing, a deft hand with fabric and exquisite shaping are hallmarks of her work and she has learned well. She clearly subscribes to Comme des Garçons’ Rei

Kawakubo’s theory that art doesn’t have to be wearable. Li clearly tried very hard to make the collection wearable by making it in denim, leather and bulky knits, underscoring her belief that the fabrics don’t have to be flashy.

Choosing a presentation rather than a runway show, she put her models on pedestals wearing tennis shoes with no evident makeup or hair. You know, just your average girl on the street. Not. Styled differently, the clothes wouldn’t have looked so elementary - or shall we say minimalist? Or unadorned? Ms. Li has unquestionable talent but is still working on how to apply it correctly.

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