It’s been two weeks since the end of spring 2023 fashion month, and some pre-fall appointments are already on the agenda, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my attendance in NYC in early September The Giovanna Flores show. In a nondescript building near Astor Place Cube, I took a small elevator packed with people up a few floors—an unusual feeling in a post-pandemic world—to a Small space, where a table, a hanger, a sofa are pushed aside to make room for the “runway”. The elevator made several more trips, and everyone was lined up against the walls on either side. There were about 35 of us in total; most seemed to be Flores’ friends, and there was a loving energy in the room. Then I think a door to the closet opened and the first model came out.
The clothes seem simple. A model wore a white oversized polo shirt and denim miniskirt. But the polo shirt was indifferent, with dropped sleeves tucked at the elbows, fitted hem and gathered around the hips by a series of curved darts. This is the result of what Flores calls blind fitting. “I use darts and seams without representing the body,” she explained a few weeks after the show. “Then put them [on the body] and then put them on.”
“In this collection, I think a lot about dressing people and introducing them to the world , as well as uniforms and dress for weddings and other traditions,” she added. A cream dress with subtly striped sheer fabric topped with a cross of black fabric with vertical threads falling on dropped sleeves. As the model walks barefoot, the skirt dances around her; it’s bulky, but there’s no immediate reference to any kind of historical dress. Later, Flores told me, many of the pieces were actually stuffed with rice, as is done at traditional wedding celebrations, to “reduce their weight.” Meanwhile, a sheer white sleeveless top paired with an exaggerated shirred turtleneck felt rooted in an Elizabethan collar, like a distant hazy memory of something you once knew.
“I’m researching different lifestyles the possibilities of the way,” she added. At the end of the show, Flores was woken by her friends to a “court” and applause, many of whom burst into tears. Being in that small room, surrounded by something decidedly special, made me realize that of all the fashionable ways, it’s probably the best.