Text by Alec Coiro
Video by Joe DeNardo
It has been 5 years since the newly incarnated Tess Giberson line was re-launched after Tess’s sojourn as Creative Director for TSE. Before TSE, Tess’s original line was hand-crafted, often by Tess’s own hand, and the garments she produced were marked by a beautiful fragility; often a section of a garment would resolve into a single thread, deconstructing the crocheting process. Flash forward to the Spring 2015 collection, and there is the same elegance, but now that deconstructed fragility has transformed into a play with form through the minimalism of the monochromatic and metallic looks.
One thing that I have always appreciated about Tess as a knitwear designer and as a designer in general, is her aversion to the preciousness that can befall handcrafters. Indeed, the matching crochet sweater and skirt in a subdued pale blue from this new collection typifies the way a Tess Giberson design acknowledges that a woman as both sexy and serious. And pairings like the crochet sweater with the metallic skirt defy the expectation that knit is too darling to compliment metallics.
While solid in terms of color, the collection is anything but stiff. The flow of the pieces combined with Tess’s sense of the garment’s interaction with the female form is one of the collection’s most impressive features. The presentation began with a series of all-white ensembles, and then proceeded to add looks with variations on a “ripple” pattern, suggestive of both water and rows of knitting. The rippling further complimented Tess’s exquisite use of pleating, revealed later in the presentation. I found the black pleated dress to one of the show’s highlights, and a prime example of Tess’s superlative sense of drapery and flow.
Tess credits a photo of a 1970s Palm Spring pool as an inspiration for this season, and the theme is apparent, particularly in the swimwear and the pleated skirts and dress. The suits and jumpsuit with a camisole-like top convey the confidence of the Our Bodies, Ourselves, Ms. magazine decade. There is also a sense of the poolside in the flow and shimmer of many of the pieces. Overall, Tess Giberson Spring 2015 collection deconstructs formal divisions, much as a Palm Spring pool reconciles the distinction between water and the desert.