Backstage at Collina Strada SS18

Photography: Chloé Horseman

September 11 2017

We went behind the scenes at Collina Strada‘s SS18 show at NYFW, for a kaleidoscopic presentation that called attention to our collective social media addiction.

The show’s literature asked simply, “When do we break the content limit?” It was a poignant reference to the fatigue and exasperation at the intense visual saturation of our era. Old and new and regurgitated and remixed are flashed endlessly before us on screens at all times. And we also can’t seem to look away from the content, with the rise of social media addiction becoming a genuine mental health crisis in recent years.

Collina Strada’s SS18 collection was inspired by—or maybe was a reaction against—this intense visual saturation.  And as it moves ever faster, culture is constantly remixed almost beyond the point of comprehension. In fashion, this has come to mean that every era, every cut, every color could be said to be in style all at once: the times of one specific decade’s revival playing out over a season or two have been replaced by seemingly every possible reference being made every season. In the spirit of the times, the collection consciously draws on inspiration from eras as diverse as the activist 1960s and the yuppie grunge 1990s.

After the show, we spoke with Hillary Taymour, the designer behind the brand, about why we need to be mindful about this social media onslaught, and how she hopes fashion will react to it.

Social media addiction and its overwhelming deluge of visual content is the driving theme behind your SS18 show. Why?

Hillary: I really felt like fashion has exhausted itself fighting for political view points that they cannot change. Its hard as a young designer to keep up with all the content needed to stay afloat in this tech world. This is all kind of how social media anxiety disorder (SMAD) came about in the thought process for the collection. We are constantly overloaded by inspiration. The concept of SMAD rooted from the idea that all eras are now becoming trendy and or relevant.

How does this play out in the palettes, materials, and silhouettes of the collection?

Hillary: I just wanted to stay as true to the brand as I could with the materials referencing jeans and tees. Bigger sleeves for ’80s, peg legs for ’60s, etc…

Tell us about the models cast in the show.

Hillary: I tried to cast everyone who could really embody the era behind the look. Jude oozed the ’60s twiggy movement. Ryan our angel look had the perfect 90s grunge aspect to him.  John Yuyi embodied the 2020s. She is the generation questioning technology, we all do—but looking at it as the most influential yet destructive force upon us.

Fashion, maybe more than any other cultural space, has been completely subsumed by social media. Do you think there’s a way forward for the industry and for designers that would be less dependent on likes and more conducive to positive mental health?

Hillary: I hope so. I think its about not taking yourself too seriously, just really focus on being yourself and the rest will fall into place. As a brand focus less on creating constant content and more about really conceptualizing what you put into the world to stay true to your identity.

Are you yourself addicted? Do you tech detox?

Hillary: I would say I am to an extent. If you are on any form of social media chances are you have a bit of SMAD too. I wake up and immediately check my socials. Its not healthy. I do love to take detox vacations where you are on a mountain in the middle of no where with no internet. To me those days are priceless and too few and far between.


Photos by Chloé Horseman