Tanya Taylor frequently cites visual artists as inspirations and references in her work. (Just last season, she collaborated with Ammon Rost on the backdrop for her New York Fashion Week presentation, which featured some of his paintings as well as miscellanea from his studio strewn about Dumbo's Smack Mellon Arts Center.) For Fall 2022, the designer once again set her collection debut against the work and space of a painter: Elaine de Kooning, the abstract expressionist and figurative expressionist painter married to Willem, whose East Hampton home and studio now hosts artist residencies. But that wasn't the only way she incorporated de Kooning's influence.
"Her personality and how she brought creatives together — she used this house as a hub of creativity, and would have young artists from New York come and paint. And she felt inspired by them," says Taylor. That spirit and eagerness to experience art in community resonated with the designer, who's long been open about her creative process and encouraged her customers to participate in it, too.
"She had this quote where she was the 'red-hot center' of New York City, which is such an amazing thing to declare about yourself. Doesn't everyone want to be that?," she continues. "Something about her way of wanting culture to come into her work inspired me."
Taylor became fascinated by de Kooning and her legacy, and it set the tone for what might just be an all-time best collection for her namesake brand.
Instead of doubling down on its brand signatures, Tanya Taylor Fall 2022 almost subverts our expectations — for one, prints take a backseat to texture (think metallic brocades, liquid lurex, feather accents), which bring nuance and depth to the looks.
"I really focused on fabric development this season and on making sure there's a richness to everything we were creating," Taylor says. "Even when we layer things together, it's always different fabrics, which was really fun, to think about a satin skirt and mohair sweater with a velour glove."
When there are prints, they're warm and graphic, versus peppy and bright. The color palette is similarly rich: butter yellow, brandy red, chocolate brown, plus a range of blues. There's a big emphasis on separates — it's what the customer wants, and it just so happens that it gives Taylor room to play with crops, layers and unexpected shapes and, ultimately, surprise her shopper with something they maybe haven't seen (or didn't expect) from the designer before. Think: a ruched off-the-shoulder gown, a thin-knit feather-coated sweater dress or a mini skirt with rhinestone strands that fall down to the floor.
"That's where my head's been at, in feeling confidence in knowing what we're good at and giving more room to experiment and create things that are really new," Taylor says.
There's an assuredness in the design and the vision, one that only comes from truly understanding who's buying your clothes and building a relationship with them over time. Taylor knows them, and knows when and how to push them — with new ideas, new silhouettes, new ways to feel sophisticated.
"It feels like the most personal and distinctive collection we've done," Taylor says.
See the full Tanya Taylor Fall 2022 collection in the gallery, below.