Exploring form, not narrative, is the driving force Melita Baumeister. It also maintains a steady stream of interns knocking on her door in Washington Heights. They always say, “I wonder how you made these shapes,” the designer laughs.
There is no single answer to this question. The shoulder points of the witch dresses from the spring collection are formed by wooden straps. The chair dress I’m talking about uses inflatables, not the foam that designers have used in the past. Cartilage is used for 3D frills, and one way to create volume is to use folds on the ridges. The pleats also replicate the “elasticity” and “wiggle” of knitwear, Baumeister said. Suitable for springs of different strengths. There are plenty of options in the milder range. These include exaggerated A-line shirt dresses, tent skirts with puff hem, oversized parkas that are extra flexible, and well-cut jackets with super-long sleeves and super-tights paired with mid-thigh shorts.
Some of Baumeister’s spring collections that align her work with those of Satoshi Kondo and Yusuke Takahashi in Issey are Miyake and CFCL, but her world is her own. This is one of the exaggerated and exacting tricks of the circus mirror. Wallflowers be warned: There’s nothing “safe” about this designer’s job. “I like the extremes of things,” Baumeister said. “I like to see where the edges of things that are still wearable, whether extremely round or extremely pointed.” As the writer Louis de Bernières once pointed out: “The human heart loves geometry A bit of chaos in the shape.” Baumeister shows this in spades in her more dramatic creations, such as a black vinyl dress that looks like a pillow with inflated sleeves, or one that resembles an upside-down wedding cake. Sleeveless pink dress. Some shapes, such as a gold dress with a full skirt like a petticoat, seem to reference historical clothing. Rather than looking back, Baumsister says she pushes the boundaries of what she can do with volumes, she works across the board, making things on a form and trying them out on herself, rather than starting with a 2D drawing.
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Baumeister is all about being bold. “I’m always amazed when there are so many of these types of clothing for women…to me it’s like the bare minimum that should be,” she said. Her designs take up space and are meant to empower the wearer: “Sometimes it’s not easy being a woman and having a voice, so I try to give the wearer some confidence.”