Willy Chavarria RTW Spring 2023 – WWD

The complex interconnections between religious beliefs and fashion are increasingly recognized by researchers, journalists and fashion enthusiasts.

The list of exchanges between fashion and religion is long, and dates back to the end of the 1930s when Elsa Schiaparelli borrowed the symbols of the Vatican flag and embroidered the keys of Saint Peter on an evening suit, launching the “Celestial Line”.

Latinos often describe their faith as intimate, reciprocal relationships with God, family, and community, with these relationships playing an important role in health and well-being. And as such, designer Willy Chavarria presented his latest spring collection at the historic Marble Collegiate Church (founded in 1628), one of the oldest continuous Protestant congregations in North America.

Accustomed to religious controversies, famed artist Madonna made a front-row appearance, testifying that even the world’s most powerful establishment can be challenged, and in the same way Chavarria proposed with her “Please Rise” collection.

“Because I was raised Catholic, I have a strong belief that good outweighs evil, and I feel like there is a loss of God in the world,” Chavarria said. in the wings.

The Latino designer has seen a successful progression from season to season, and his latest offering stands out as his highest and most extensive yet – amplifying stitching details and tailoring, showcasing a range of suits (mostly double button down) with a bold, strong shoulder paired with exaggerated collar shirts, cotton shirts resembling clerical collars, ultra wide leg pants, oversized baggy skirts and shorts in variations ranging from all sequins with transparent organza. “It was important to me to have a show for revered people, showing things in the most elegant, refined and respectable way,” Chavarria said.

The range was a seamless infusion of religious wear and classic workwear, complemented by Chavarria’s ever-changing chunky silhouettes.

Chavarria is a master at mixing elements of workwear with streetwear, which always results in an unexpected yet appealing silhouette. This time the monastic vibes took over, with pieces such as oversized white crew neck t-shirts (knee-length) paired with all-black pants (for the altar boys), red mesh tops cardinal with words such as “Cathesicm” and long coats that resemble clergy attire.

“I can’t walk away from sex, but it was about sensuality,” Chavarria said. And in a season where many collections featured sexually charged looks or hints of sexual tension, Chavarria chose to go the opposite route. Although many of her looks generally offer a sexual overtone, the designer said her latest offering is rooted in sensuality over sexuality – “sexuality is so easy, everyone is having sex right now, and I feel like we’ve lost that incredible elegance that lives in sensuality.”

The use of transparencies via oversized sheer organza shorts, mesh tops revealing subtle skin highlights, boxy work shirts buttoned just above the waist (with revealing torsos), and a black coated tank top paired with papal red satin trousers adorned with an oversized rose and large pleated train, played in the refined universe of Chavarria.

The designer also highlights collaborations with Pro Club, FB County and Dickies, styled in the high range. “It was important to give these iconic labels the attention they deserve because they have had such an impact on American style,” Chavarria said.

The show’s opening sequence included an a cappella song, written by American singer, songwriter and performance artist Dorian Wood, which spoke to the realities of division, the walls between us and how the powers that be separate us. in place. These notions also permeated the show’s all-street model cast, featuring models of all races (not just Latinos). “It was about solidarity and the strength that we have when we are with our people, it’s one of the most beautiful things to see,” Chavarria said.

Will the Latino designer ever reach a tipping point? Let’s hope so. Still living up to being named the recipient of this year’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion Design, Chavarria’s latest effort has once again proven the importance of highlighting key aspects of Latino culture. integrated into modern American fashion, a formula we’ve come to suck up from Chavarria.

“I will never reach the top, I always try to do the most perfect thing I can articulate, it will be a continuous journey to try to get there, and I will do it forever,” Chavarria said, before to share his next dream project: Underwear at La Chavarria.