Photos by Amanda Coen for Ecouterre
Gretchen Jones is in a dark place, both figuratively and literally. There's the cavernous, dimly lit interior of Root Drive-In in Chelsea, for one, which sets the stage for her Fall/Winter 2012 collection at New York Fashion Week. But the New York designer (and Season 8 Project Runway winner) is also mourning the recent loss of her father, Robert, whom Jones credits for shaping the woman she is today. Holding court on the periphery of a charcoal-drawn medicine wheel, the models bathe in light and shadow as if suspended between planes of existence. Jones's Southwestern roots run deep, from the basket-weave textures to the digital ikat prints, the entirety of which is produced in the United States.
THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
As in previous seasons, Jones based her collection on a music album and a book (actually a book and a poem): Desertshore by Nico, Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, and “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. “My father passed away after the presentation for spring,” Jones tells Ecouterre. “So the collection has been all about light and dark, what is real, where the line between life and death starts.”
Jones’s veda therapist has a vision of the designer shedding her skin like a snake.
Jones owes her hand-painted crocodile print, in part, to her “veda hippie therapist,” who had a vision of the designer shedding her skin like a snake. It’s the kind of mystical symbolism Jones gravitates unapologetically—and unironically—towards.
Although she began her career at the helm of MothLove, a label that billed itself as sustainable, Jones considers herself “fashion first.” “I feel that when it comes to sustainability you have to pick your poison,” she says. “Right now it’s more important for me to focus on creating work in my economy, supporting that, and then advancing as I grow.”
Not that she’s completely divorcing herself from the movement, of course. Her sweaters are knit in Los Angeles, but everything else hails locally from New York City’s Garment District. Jones traffics in magical realism, after all, and this is her place of power.