An artist leaves the city to pursue inspiration on the prairie. Along the way, she picks up style cues from warm spring weather, natural photography, and the Ziegfeld Follies. The result? Indie-leaning designer Gary Graham's Spring 2011 collection.
Graham's fictitious muse Augustine Riley—and New York designer's resulting presentation—played out like a sweeping novel, subtly transitioning between chapters that included menswear, washer woman, and burlesque.
A white shirting fabric blouse was styled (half-tucked) with black trouser shorts. Muted brown house dresses and skirts were paired with organza crinolines, knit cardigans, and shiny, delicately printed leggings. And, during the collection's boldest arc, layered sheaths popping with reds and blacks—and one fantastic drop-waist, sparkly mini tunic—completely jazzed up Graham's omnipresent burgundy, creme, and brown wedged granny boots.
Add to that a multi-layered soundtrack (we picked out forest warbles, steam pistons, and ambient electronica) and an audience that included Graham's good friend, musician Karen O., for one theatrical turnout.