When looking at Paola Hernandez’s newest collection, entitled “The Society Of The Spectacle,” some things become immediately apparent: her knack for perfecting androgyny, her eye for old-world details, and her library-bound intellectual influence. There’s something else there, though, that you might not notice—Hernandez’s philosophy.
And yet, it is infused in every piece she designs. I had the opportunity to meet with the designer in her studio, and as she walked me through the pieces I was stunned by how much attitude is hidden behind each detail—from a color choice to the logo to the way she styled her models’ hair (Einstein-inspired, if you must know).
Not content to simply design beautiful garments (don’t worry though—she certainly does), Hernandez builds a lifestyle for each of her collections. This season focuses on intellect—specifically, its place in fashion. Hernandez wants her clothes to embody a person we would actually want to be, not just look like; this explains the heavy academic influence in her spring/summer 2010 collection. And, while any designer can accessorize her collection with books or a quill pen, Paola is serious—she wants her customer to be multifaceted. And in an industry so often considered vapid (whether rightfully or wrongfully), who could blame her?
The Mexico native recently moved to Manhattan and has already stirred up quite a buzz at her studio, entertaining not only journalists and the fashion regulars but the likes of Brian Chase (drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) as well. And if her uniquely holistic approach to fashion pervades, we can only imagine the talk will continue.
So what’s in store for the future? Hernandez plans to keep her timeless style and careful blend of masculinity and femininity, but move forward into an even more compelling concept—the wearer as fashion. We can’t say what her next line will consist of, but we can tell you this: she says the mentality is to focus on the wearer as a “subject, not object.” Intelligence in fashion, and a more personal role in the clothes we wear? Looks like New York needs Hernandez more than we ever knew we could.