The resort season marks the beginning of Gabriela Hearst’s journey researching the Druids.
“I’ve always followed things through intuition and curiosity. The moment I finished Eileen Gray [her fall muse], I realized she was Irish and she died on the day of Halloween — it’s one of those Druid holidays that we still celebrate. Usually my research process is that we hire a professor, but the Druids are one of the hardest things to get information about,” Hearst said. “It’s really a story about imperialism because they were basically persecuted down by the Roman Empire, and they used to be one third of the Celtic civilization and of Europe. They were a very specific civilization and history, because it’s so old, that we had taken the recount of the Romans as the actual account. The reason is I bought this book, started reading it and why we’re studying them is because they didn’t believe in personal property, it was all common property, and the role of women in the Roman Empire was the role of a uterus or a sex object while women in the Druid society were highly respected. They were spiritual; they were in the political arena; they were part of society and in high regard. They were spiritual people and were extremely studious and academic.”
Due to the high-ranking, ancient society’s oral history (a civilization said to include religious leaders, engineers, lawyers and scientists, and a belief that humans should be born with health care and the ability to be fed), Hearst said the hard-to-find information lent itself to using fantasy and imagination.
“I do think the ideals of Druid society would be something that translate very well today, especially when we’re in this apocalyptic scene — it’s insane, but this is climate change,” Hearst said during a preview — the day when dangerous smoke overtook New York City and turned its skies orange.
Hearst’s modern take on the in-depth inspiration resulted in a striking ensemble of unfussy looks that melded slightly futuristic ideas with those that are classic and grounded. For instance, a Blade Runner-esque herringbone piece shearling coat with embossed signature GH swirls; a sharp black napa suit and cape with painted white edges; cocooning, sleek capes in aloe linen and eco double-face cashmere linen and a fair amount of plush shawls and scarves. The collection’s rose gold hardware details, applied to ready-to-wear (buttons, circular skin-baring accents and jeweled details) and accessories (a Ring Bag was noted to be inspired by the Druids for its representation of “oneness and looking after oneself through responsibility, integrity and ethics,” collection notes read), added to the idea with luxe appeal. Ditto to Hearst’s strong assortment of cozy knits, including a standout, intricate 100 percent cashmere Aran cable sweater, said to be hand-knitted by artisans in Bolivia.
The inspiration also lent itself nicely to a continuation of Hearst’s minimalist bent, as seen in shades of black, ivory, light heather gray, deep bordeaux, blush and deep fluorite blue, across tailoring with sharp, rounded shoulders in recycled double-face cashmere; daywear with pintucks and pleats, or a leather frock with sexy, silk draped back.
Standout dresses came with a range of impactful details: red suede geometric accents with crochet details, sleeves with rose-shaped, organic pleated draping (wonderful in leather, which Hearst dubbed “simple, but impactful”) or softer, exaggerated rounded shoulders (across knit looks), and lengthy skirts with cascading waterfall silk draping.
Her men’s offering followed the same codes across sharp tailoring (in leather, wool silk cady and ecological wool twill), outerwear, organic Japanese denim treated with ecological treatments and patchworked with deadstock cashmere details and lining (five pocket jeans and overshirts), buttery suede and quilted wardrobing, and striking cashmere yarn with intricate cable knits.
While declining to comment on her suspected departure from Chloe, the designer noted resort as one of her favorite collections to date. “There is so much process in choosing the fabrics with care. It’s like cooking, right? You want to work with the best ingredients as possible, and we’re quite uncompromisable when it comes to that.”