Maria McManus showed her fall collection at her home in Tribeca. On the rack yellow knits (butter and lemon) immediately caught the eye. McManus had recently watched the Sinéad O’Connor documentary and was struck by how much she had suffered for standing up for her beliefs back in the 1990s.
“I was living in Ireland in the ’90s, and it wasn’t until I saw the documentary that I realized how awful it was here,” she recalled. “Then I read the interview in the Times where she was like, ‘I was delighted, I never wanted to be famous anyway, it just made me think about, how can you move the needle?’” McManus is a designer by trade, but at heart she’s an environmentalist, and at appointments she generally begins with a breakdown of what new materials, sources, and products she was able to work with. The Sinéad influence was more of a vibe that added a bit of a raw edge to the clothes.
The big news this season was a fabric called “Naia Renew,” that McManus had been trying to get her hands on for a while. It is a biodegradable material with a silk hand that is made from 60% sustainably sourced wool pulp, and 40% recycled waste materials. It is also made on a “closed loop,” meaning that the water and the chemicals used for making it are recycled so it has less of an impact on the environment. Of course these developments would mean nothing if the clothes McManus makes weren’t so deeply desirable; there was a white padded trench coat with a minimal edge, and a black bomber jacket with a slight sheen that made it seem like leather. Another highlight included a recycled polyester tank top embroidered with deadstock pearlized teardrop beads. The collection had all of McManus signature elements: great knits made from recycled yarn, like an Aran sweater purposefully distressed with some “missed stitches,” and her suiting, cut with precision from Japanese fabrics.