EcoSalon at NYFW: Gretchen Jones

A scene inspired by a midnight desert, a Warhol muse, and personal tragedy at Gretchen Jones’ Fall/Winter 2012 presentation.

Outside it was snowing, but inside Chelsea’s Root Drive-In, a desert had been realized.

This wasn’t your sun-kissed, white linen and turquoise desert, though. This was darker, more melancholy – the desert at midnight. The room was pitch black, save for small spotlights trained on the models, who stood on wooden platforms arranged in a circular pattern among sand and stones. In one corner, a smoke machine created a haze. In the other, the Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw spun mellow electronica.

The occasion was sustainable designer Gretchen Jones’ Fall/Winter 2012 presentation, and when I spoke with Jones about the inspiration behind her new collection, the decor made perfect sense.

“This season I’ve been dealing a lot with life and death and how they’re intertwined,” said Jones, whose father passed away shortly after her premiere solo presentation last season. This new collection is in homage to the man, whose Apache background served as Jones’ primary design muse.

Like every season, Jones also drew inspiration from literary and musical influences: The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, and, appropriately, Desertshore by Nico, a 1970s German singer and Andy Warhol muse.

The resulting collection was striking, with strong silhouettes and decadent but sustainable materials. Among the most eye-catching ensembles were a digitally printed silk floor-length gown and a sleeveless pantsuit made from burnt orange wool lattice.

“The textiles tell the real story,” Jones told me. “I use them to inform the audience about where I am.” She explained that the wool lattice represents the contrast between life and death, while a purple crocodile print embodies the process of transformation that she’s undergoing.

The outfits were accessorized with hats from Little Doe, boots from Durango, and archived Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo jewelry from Ruby+George. Minimal make-up and cracked turquoise nail polish (which I’m totally rocking this spring) completed the models’ looks.

Some of our favorite pieces, along with close-ups of the details, are featured below.

Images: Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati currently resides in New York City and covers travel and sustainability for EcoSalon. Catch her weekly column, Behind the Label.