Photos by Amanda Coen for Ecouterre
If Titania Inglis's New York Fashion Week debut brings to mind a grown-up Angela Chase—the career-defining role Claire Danes played on My So-Called Life from 1994 to 1995—you wouldn't be far off the mark. The Brooklyn designer, who received the 2012 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for Sustainable Design, considers the teen drama series a "cultural touchstone." And indeed, the '90s are alive and well at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in midtown Manhattan, where Inglis dispatched crisp cut-outs, vertiginous angles, sheer fabrics, and enough plaid flannel to bring Kurt Cobain back from the dead. The looks were styled, fittingly enough, with Doc Martens combat boots, adding a scruffy grunge appeal to some of the more diaphanous silhouettes.
SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT
Inglis describes her look as “grunge gone medieval,” citing medieval armor and the marine-life illustrations of Ernst Haeckel as influences. A mix of cupro, recycled cotton, linen, deadstock fabric (sheer cotton voile and Italian moleskin among them), and vegetable-tanned leather heighten the adolescent broodiness.
There’s a pleasing sense of mathematical exactitude in Inglis’s designs, a Pythagorean harmony bound by clearly defined borders.
There’s a pleasing sense of mathematical exactitude in Inglis’s designs, a Pythagorean harmony bound by clearly defined borders and a calculated restraint. She’s not afraid to belabor that point, either. For accessories, she tapped jewelry designer Bliss Lau, who’s half-Chinese like Inglis, to fashion a set of vegetable-tanned leather harnesses that form a gilded cage around each piece.
If Inglis’s life has changed markedly as a result of her win, she’s not showing it. “I’m a lot busier,” she concedes. “I’ll have to wait and see what happens.” Eventually, she says, she’d like to try her hand at menswear. For the moment, however, she’s basking in the gray afternoon light. Any angst can wait till later.