Religious dressing is having something of a moment. There was the onslaught of inspiration from the crimson-dressed subjects of Netflix's Wild Wild Country, the supposed prairie dress trend from designer Batsheva Hay (according to media coverage those dresses are everywhere, but I have never seen anyone actually sport one in the wild). Yesterday's Telfar show felt like something of a church service, with a sermon delivered by playwright Jeremy O. Harris. But one designer is really nailing religious reference and reverence in his work: Graham Tyler Baldwin.
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Baldwin, trained as a sculptor and a milliner, debuted his eponymous label (called Graham Tyler, sans Baldwin) just last season, to great acclaim. Tyler is only in his mid-twenties, yet his aesthetic is strikingly sophisticated and elegant — he makes clothes that harken back to a time when all public outings called for a hat. This season he went even further back. Like, 17th century back. The Graham Tyler fall 2019 offerings had a real Puritan vibe, with an appropriately black, white, and grey palette; a standout black gown was styled with a bonnet and pilgrim-style belt buckle.
But Baldwin, whose collection also included gorgeously made hats and corsets, is skilled enough that none of this feels false or costume-y. Many of the references came from his own background; the designer hails from Interlaken in upstate New York, near an Amish community, and there were touches inspired by their traditional dress. He used a print from a mural on the wall of the church where his parents met. It's all so thoughtful. At a time when fashion seems increasingly faster and more impersonal, it's thrilling to see someone like Baldwin, who cares about his customers so very much. We can't wait to see more.
Photos courtesy of Graham Tyler