It's been a big year for Creatures of the Wind designers Shane Gabier and Chris Peters. The Chicao-based pair, who, if you've been watching the addictive Hulu series "The Fashion Fund," you'll know are a couple, were recently named runners up for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which, in terms of exposure and validation, is basically the same as winning. "While we’ve got these eyes on us we’re trying to show our breadth and range," Gabier told us backstage after the runway show/presentation hybrid at the Desmond Tutu Center. That they did. This collection really showed what they are capable of.
So what did they learn from the exhaustive four-month CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund process? "It just put a mirror in front of us and made us be really critical and I think it's allowed us to grow, but its also forced us to to edit in a way, too, so I think it’s making everything tighten up in a way."
The collection may have been tighter, but it was their largest and most varied collection yet. And there were a lot of eyes--at least three times as last season (we were barely able to see the clothes). What we did get to see was a genius mix of colors, fabrics and silhouettes that would probably satisfy the sales-minded CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund judges (we spotted Jenna Lyons and Anna Wintour in the crowd) but did not sacrifice their signature offbeat aesthetic.
They added more knits, probably their most accessible offering, as well as eveningwear and an awesome shoe collaboration with Tabitha Simmons, to whom they were introduced to by Chicago retailer Ikram Goldman, who has been a longtime supporter of the duo.
After the show, Gabier told us what inspired the mood of the collection: The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies, a book written in 1961 by Scottish Episcopalian minister Robert Kirk. "Basically the book was like an expose of the fairy world," he explained. "Then, the reality is that he was found dead near a tree. He believed this specific tree was like a portal to this fairy world, so his soul was supposedly sucked into the tree and taken by the fairies and they sealed the entrance so there was no way into the fairy world, so it was kind of about that--these two parallel worlds existing and this doorway between them."
When we were listening to this, it was difficult to imagine how that could possibly translate into clothing, but upon a second look at the collection, we kind of see it. Click through to see all the looks and tell us if you see it, too.