Zero + Maria Cornejo Fall 2011 Review

Zero + Maria Cornejo Fall 2011 runway

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Zero + Maria Cornejo Fall 2011 collection

SHOW: Zero + Maria Cornejo (See the full runway collection)

THEME: Clothes for “eccentric spirits and bold individuals,” especially those who are both earthy and urbane.

ACCESSORIES: Dramatic horsehair necklaces and bracelets in collaboration with Saltalamacchia; sculptural handbags in metallic faux armadillo; terrific flat and heeled desert boots by Eileen Shields.

HAIR: Kevin Woon for Shiseido

MAKEUP: Gucci Westman for Revlon

FRONT ROW: Olivier Zahn of Purple magazine; jeweler and friend-of-Wes-Anderson Waris Ahluwalia

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: For city sophisticates who are slightly askew—and on their way to the Atacama Desert.

The Chilean-born designer walks a steady line between conceptual, urban tailoring and natural inspirations. The very first look signaled this confidence: a light, pale, sleeveless dress printed with a fur-like pattern, swinging like a bell thanks to a stiff, contrasting hem.

It was sometimes hard not to reach out and touch the fabrics, which ranged from tufted alpaca to a gleaming material made from recycled cassette tape. (Sharkskin suits have nothing on that sheen.)

Most colors were neutral, leaning to cinnamon, black, the natural grays of alpaca, and warm brown vegetable-dyed leather. An oversize Tetris-like pattern lent graphic edge to several dresses and coats. Among all these earth tones, a sunset-print dress and a blood-red llama pod coat were a welcome jolt.

Cornejo’s preoccupations with asymmetry and unusual volume stayed successfully in play. Short jackets with rounded backs and dresses with asymmetric hems joined longer cocoon coats. These shapes will make you look as interesting going as coming.

While the overall silhouettes are absorbing, the details were equally memorable. Gaucho-heeled ankle boots, for instance, had a slit carved across the top of the foot. One model’s hair was threaded through a slit at the back of her top, a very sly peekaboo.