Maria McManus’s collections are small, with sustainability as their focus. Her clothes aren’t flashy and don’t subscribe to trends, although that’s not to say they are without flourishes here and there. They are meant to be workhorses in a modern woman’s wardrobe, made for living. Each season she presents her new collection by appointment, explaining in great detail where her fabrics are made, what material her buttons are made of, what certification the factories she works with have been able to obtain.
She changed things up for spring, holding a presentation in a small event space in SoHo. “Honestly two and a half years ago, I never would’ve dreamed we’d be able to have a presentation, but Estée Lauder reached out and asked if they could do the makeup for the runway show, which was strange because we don’t have runway shows,” McManus explained after the presentation had ended. “We felt like this was a moment where we should jump on this opportunity.” The slow pace of the presentation seemed at odds with the active, busy lives women are likely having in her clothes—and it would’ve been nice to see models of diverse body types and ages—but McManus still delivered essentials her fans will enjoy. They’ll certainly keep coming back for her suiting, which this season included a seafoam green color with contrasting black buttons. But it was her knits that stood out the most. There was a cream twinset with black polka dots and contrasting stitching, and a crochet dress with scattered sequins, which was also fun. The best look in the collection was actually a styling trick: her knit pleated skirt, shown in all available colorways layered on top of each other—white under mint under black—and with a bit of the top skirt tucked into the waistband to create an interesting effect. It was worn with a plain white ribbed tank top.
At the end McManus came out and did a small speech about immigration and the importance of voting and then mentioned a few details: the finished seams inside the season’s trench coat; the fabric content of a crochet dress (recycled cashmere and organic buttons); and the buttons, which were made from potato starch.