In a season when many designers are focused on groundedness, Alejandra Alonso Rojas moved in the opposite direction, looking to the sky, specifically the Northern Lights, for inspiration. Rojas has always been drawn to “dopamine” colors, but after several seasons’ surfeit of blinding brights like Pink PP, it was the pastels in this collection—a lilac coat, a blush slip dress worn with a luxurious cashmere sweater in a matching hue—that most drew the eye.
The celestial inspiration was evident in the first looks, that were night-sky black or metallic. “We really wanted a flash of evening crochet on the runway” said the designer. Gilding the lily, a gold knotted dress had diamante detailing at the back. The drama of a carnation red column was also in the pleated bows not visible from the front.
The show was presented at Casino restaurant on the Lower East Side and the set up was charming, but it was difficult to imagine many of the pieces being worn to a dinner there: they were too dressy, too much, in many cases. AAR’s roots are in knitwear and leathers. Evening wear is a relatively new category, and according to the designer, a booming one. The choice to create satin slips to compliment see-through crochet was nice, but as lovely as an ice-dye or dramatic as a parachute train are, there were many iterations on silhouettes and techniques we’ve seen here before. It’s great to have signatures you stick to, but it’s trickier when the pieces aren’t necessarily wardrobe staples. On top of that, crochet and macramé are to be found in many collections these days. Admirably, Rojas remains committed to slow fashion; there was a lot of hand work in her pieces.
Backstage, the designer spoke of the layers of energy and emotions around all of us, and the relationships we have with each other. For many seasons the mining of her family history was her primary inspiration. That remained here, but not as overtly. It turned out that the stripes on a silken skirt with a crochet insert referenced those on the designer’s parents’ bedspread that she remembered from childhood. “It’s something really meaningful for me,” said Rojas. That look felt authentic and close to home in a way that the dressier pieces did not.