For Christian Cota's fall 2011 collection he strayed a bit from the bias cut, painted print evening gowns he's become known for, and drew on his own experience hiking as the inspiration for this more practical, technical collection. (He also cited "seventies-era rock climbers in California, Alpine ski style, Colonial explorers, early twentieth century female mountaineers conquering the great peaks of the Andes and Himalayas, and Traditional Tibetan costume," as influences.) Wherever Cota's intrepid lady explorers are going they will be warm. His girl is wrapped up in thick felted wools--heavy wrap coats, cropped jackets with toggle closures at the neck, wide leg trousers and pencil skirts adorned with fur. There were floor-length hooded knits that looked irresistibly cozy and almost made me wish for colder temps (almost). In keeping with the hiking theme, jackets and dresses had harness details in leather. But Cota's girl will be especially warm come fall/winter because she is swathed in fox fur. Cota has collaborated with Saga Furs, and he's used the decadent material to great effect as glamorous printed collars and as embellishment on the cuffs and collars of leather jackets. Cota's a print master, and his technique came into play on knit tops and dresses towards the end of the show, aping reptile and animal prints. He didn't completely forsake evening wear though, and his finale gown, a tan number overlayed in black tulle and embroidered and beaded to mimic cheetah spots was a perfect ending note.
Cota's fairly new to the scene but has gotten a lot of buzz--namely in the way of a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nom. This collection proves he's ready to step outside his comfort zone (beautiful prints, evening wear) to take on outerwear and pieces of sportswear to achieve a more complete collection. We'll continue to keep our eye on him.
**All photos: IMAXTREE