Tanya Taylor was back on the official New York Fashion Week calendar this season with a presentation at the Smack Mellon Arts Center in Dumbo, Brooklyn, where, among paintings by Ammon Rost (whom Taylor befriended over the summer) and remnants of his studio (tarps, cardboard, buckets, paint-spattered paper plates), models posed in the designer's latest colorful array of fine knits, easy layers and breezy dresses for spring.
"In March, I was looking for some creative energy, and I found this artist," Taylor says of Rost. "I messaged him on Instagram and he was like, 'Come to my studio.' He didn't describe what I'd be walking into. I open these silver doors and he had the entire empty commercial office floor across from 1 World Trade Center — massive canvases, paintings, drop cloths...finding creative inspiration in the middle of the most demanding neighborhood in New York. I was like, 'If you can do that, that's what I want to do.'"
That's how the brand ended up down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, where you're "able to see the city" and also build spaces "that feel very creative," as Taylor puts it, for its Spring 2022 debut.
This season, Taylor continues to push the envelope when it comes to fabrics, especially knitwear. You'll find really fine knits adorned with florals originally hand-painted in chalk, accented by back cut-outs and paired with poplins, as well as super light tweeds and candy-colored bouclés designed to be worn in the summer — pieces that take a lot of thought and technical development to look and feel this effortless. The styling, featuring peel-on-and-off layers with Gola sneakers and platform sandals, helped convey this sense of ease.
"I wanted it to feel a little sportier — the girl, to me, is in the art gallery, feeling expressive," Taylor says. "She wants to feel empowered, liberated, free. Nothing feels constricted. I feel like people just don't have time to be uncomfortable anymore."
In addition to the surprising advancements in materials, Spring 2022 highlights include the bold color story (a Tanya Taylor signature), open backs, surprising cuts and artful sequins decorating day dresses. The past 18 months have only planted Taylor's feet more firmly on the ground as a designer, pushing her to simply "do more of what I really love."
"I love knitwear. I love elements of sporty. I love evening wear that doesn't feel forced," she says. "So I put myself more confidently forward."
See the full Tanya Taylor Spring 2022 collection in the gallery, below.