Saint Sintra Finds Her Raw Edge

Saint Sintra Finds Her Raw Edge

Saint Sintra knows how to pull attention. Rather than the hasty walks so often seen on runways at NYFW, 25-year-old Sintra Martins' models moved slowly — one foot in front of the other — to ensure her audience took in every detail. There’s plenty of intricacies and tiny surprises tucked into one of Martins' looks, but the pace — like holding your breath or maintaining proper posture — also added to this season’s drama. (She’s a theater alum, after all).

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the history and influence of heraldry and royalty on the history of European fashion,” Martins says of the opulence. “And how that influences the legacy and function of the fashion industry abroad in comparison with American fashion, which historically has always copied European fashion.”

This meant tailored suiting with double-breasted jackets in mohair plaid, and silk button-down shirts with big pointed collars and elongated cuffs. Tradition was met with modern twists, though: pairing a classic blazer with matching hot pants and the pocket lining exposed, and appropriating metal armor designs like thigh shields on trousers or an updated cavalry coat with articulated sleeves. Bows, which have become something of a Saint Sintra signature, were big and layered. (“I am Bow Queen,” Martins jokes.)

Photo courtesy of Andrew Tess

Where her last collection was “very neat, very clean,” as Martins describes, Fall 2022 unraveled some of that — quite literally, with skirt hems frayed or a petticoat delicately deconstructed, like the model ran through glass. Thinking back to Spring 2022, Martins admits, “I don’t think that’s a reflection of who I am, or of the team.” Now, “Raw edges are sexy.”

"Raw edges are sexy"

Her attitude this time around manifested into a childish naivete, like the Featherington girls on Bridgerton. Maybe it was the towering curls stacked high on models’ heads, or the slightly rebellious styling (socks with pumps, punky eyeliner), but Martins' lineup looked almost like the children you’d imagine running circles around their parents’ dinner party in high society — innocent with cruel intentions.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Tess

For Martins, this checks out: “We’re all little brats over here at Saint Sintra,” she says, jokingly. “I’m the first to admit to being the most stubborn, especially when I’m wrong, but if we weren’t a little bit stubborn and opinionated, I don’t think this vision would work. It’s a very unique position I’m in to be so young, but to be putting together such exciting productions. I think bratty naivete comes with the territory.”

Pop stars love her for this, from Miley Cyrus to Willow Smith and Kim Petras. In attendance was Slayyyter, who wore Saint Sintra on the cover of her 2021 album, Troubled Paradise: a flouncy but naughty, Dorothy-inspired dress that reinterpreted Wizard of Oz for the NSFW internet age. “I loved every look,” Slayyyter says after the show. “I feel like Saint Sintra can make things that feel so sexy yet beautiful and whimsical at the same time.”

Her finale look checked all three: Martins' take on a wedding dress, which looked like white paper strips suspended from the body. It was “weeks in the making,” she says, and one of the first pieces she started knowing the time needed to perfect it. “Thursday night before the show, we were reviewing the final design on the form and I had a moment where I really had chills because of how beautiful I imagined it to look once it was finished,” she says. “It did not disappoint.”

Photo courtesy of Darian DiCianno