Vouge Runway

10 Great Women Artists Who Inspired the Fall 2018 Collections

Lia Kes has laid the foundation for her minimalist label Kes from her namesake boutique on the Upper West Side. And so it made poetic (and commercial) sense for her to present her Fall 2018 collection on a cast of her own eclectic clientele: a beautifully diverse group of women, who ranged in age from 17 to 60 and grounded the clothes by wearing them as they would (and do!) in the real world.

It began with the reconsideration of her artistic roots. “It was really Miriam Cabessa,” Kes explained, pointing to the Slow Action Israeli painter who had taught her at Shenkar design school in Tel Aviv. Looking back, she realized their work maintained common visual and narrative themes. “And it was about women’s empowerment and finding strength through art and expression,” she added. Their collaboration resulted in a fashion show–cum–live art performance. A white canvas wall stood as the backdrop with black paint smeared across it in abstract brush strokes. Piles of dark gold-green powder were dusted onto the floor; one by one, the models stepped through it, tracking the pigment along a stretch of white canvas to capture the moment.

Lorna Simpson’s daughter, Zora Casebere, opened the show in a black shearling coat and dusty rose slip, her stunning cloud of curls floating behind (she’d recently stepped into Kes on a whim and been recruited). Each woman infused the collection’s soft wools and asymmetric cut silks with an authenticity that was refreshing. “I wanted to explore different shades of black this season,” Kes said. There was a good range of depth in her use of textures: A knotted silk trench compared to a chunky wool sweater, ripped across the chest and shoulder to fall away from the body. There was also a very pretty bias-cut number, organically dyed per the Kes m.o. to resemble cracked marble with bits of green and pink ripple. As a presentation, it did much to bring Kes’s world into focus, raising the bar for next season.