Conley Averett is New York’s most successful one-man show. Despite 2022 being one of Judy Turner’s biggest years to date, he still has his day job at Khaite and is working from the same warmly lit, cozy studio space in Tribeca. “When I first started doing the Fashion Fund, people began to visit, and I noticed that my space has a neighborhood feel that people are very attracted to,” said Averett. For his fall presentation, he opened up his small haven for an intimate preview of the collection.
Knitwear is the DNA of the Judy Turner brand. Past collections incorporated very experimental moments with knit and crochet that showcased Averett’s range as a designer and included pattern work and mesh, which all translated well editorially. But this season, Averett took a step back from the experimental and went toward the fundamental. “People really expected me to be a knitwear brand and to only stay in that lane, so this time I’ve pushed myself to add in trousers and coats in a way that makes sense with the rest of my pieces,” he said. Simple yet essential corduroy and wool trousers were tailored and cut to a length wearable for the everyday person. It helped that they were less sheer, while faux-fur coats (made of teddy-bear fabrics imported from Germany) included a subtle turtleneck knit detail for extra warmth. “The overall collection was just about inventing who our customer is and what that person is doing and wearing during the day when they are at home, as opposed to what they would have worn to a vacation or a party,” said Averett.
But experimentation was not lacking from this collection. If Averett played with colors and patterns beforehand, he explored different silhouettes and styling this season. “How can I present a cohesive collection that provides a look and can sell to the customer?” said the designer. A ruffled knit tunic was expertly styled with a complementary sweater from the collection that lent desirability to the entire look, not just to one item or the other. Warm-toned brown trousers were paired with red tanks for an eye-catching but comfortable color combination, while cooler blues and beiges went together in a way that was understated yet captivating, much like Averett’s studio.