The collection was inspired by the 1978 funk anthem and its hands-across-America lyrics: “One nation under a groove … Gettin’ down just for the funk of it.” Because the world seems to have turned so divisive and brutal, Abe wanted to convey cooperation on her runway. But in fact, her work has always been rooted in building relationships, in creating hybrids — in splicing together unlikely combinations to create something new and compelling. Abe regularly stitches a crisp shirt front to a cuddly sweater back. Skirts transform into trousers halfway around the body. Dresses have the torso of a trench coat. Abe creates aesthetic harmony out of sportswear chaos.
This collection was wholly within that vein, with her bravura ability to ease the tension between competing silhouettes and textures on full display. A caftan-skirt-dress hybrid in a global map print billowed out. Pleated dresses in shades of gray were decorated at the hem with a frilly, feathery ruffle. And tweed coats that had been deconstructed and reconstructed were a skillful example of a fashion classic reborn.
It may very well be that Clinton’s music soothed some inner turmoil that Abe was feeling about the state of the world. Indeed, she paid homage to him on the runway with T-shirts emblazoned with “One Nation Under a Groove.” And offstage, she presented him with a pair of Sacai sneakers that had yet to reach stores — a moment that was captured on his Instagram.
But the connection to Clinton was most evident in the mood of the collection. It felt lighter, easier and more melodic than in the past. It looked, in a word, groovier. Funkier. The clothes that Abe creates require a sure, thoughtful consideration of proportions and silhouettes. Sometimes, all that intellectual energy leaves its mark on the clothes, and they can be ponderous. Just a tad. Spring was free of any traces of overthinking or brooding.
It was simply mellifluous and cool.
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