Maria Cornejo has a thriving bathing suit business, but as she said when we walked into her showroom this morning: “It’s not about the beach.” Actually, her notes framed it that way. She put it a lot more bluntly: “Resort is the mistress of all the collections, it has to fill many beds.” But if Cornejo feels pulled in a hundred directions by the demands of the season, her coolly confident lineup didn’t show it. She’s the kind of designer who makes incremental changes, not sweeping ones, nonetheless there was a lot of newness to the season. It started from the ground up: the fabrics.
A graphic print that she modeled after the ironwork gates of Paris’ Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature looked great on a crinkled silk tunic and matching pull-on pants. Texture was a point of interest, especially when it came to the evening options, like the plissé of a sophisticated column gown and the almost shaggy feel of the silk jacquard she used for an off-the-shoulder top and pants set. Cornejo has mastered the art of designing dress-up clothes with a casual attitude. This time around she also gave us a casual pair of roomy shorts in a rather dressed-up, vegetable-dyed pebble leather. They could be a surprise hit.