Maria McManus Resort 2022

1 month ago 17
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Maria McManus’s resort lookbook opens with a future heirloom of a sweater. The lofty, salt-and-pepper bouclé and generous silhouette are what you notice first—McManus pointed out the curvy sleeves, which are engineered to hold their shape—but she was just as meticulous about the provenance of the yarns. The downy feel comes courtesy of recycled cashmere, the bouncy lightness from recycled nylon, and the rest is wool. McManus was quick to note that she wasn’t able to secure fibers certified by the Responsible Wool Standard, which confirms that they came from farms that prioritize animal welfare. Few designers can say 100% of their collections are certified or traceable; it’s something McManus hopes to improve as she goes along. While others would overemphasize the mostly-recycled nature of the sweater, she’s upfront about her progress and the limitations of “sustainable fashion.”

The big picture, of course, is that the sweater has a significantly smaller footprint than your average virgin cashmere or wool knit. The same is true of her organic cotton shirting (now made in New York), brushed-wool robe coats, and cardigans in ribbed recycled cashmere. For resort 2022, McManus’s third collection since her launch, the offering has grown impressively: She’s introduced tailoring in ultra-fine, RSW-certified wool; luminous blouses and dresses in cupro, a more durable alternative to silk; sweaters in an organic-cotton-recycled-cashmere blend, her solution to the market’s shrinking supply of recycled cashmere; and, perhaps most surprisingly, a handful of sheer, barely-there layering pieces in recycled nylon and merino. They’re a bit like the mesh underpinnings women have been wearing under slip dresses and blazers, but those are typically made of virgin polyester or nylon. Beyond their more responsible design, McManus’s have the benefit of being softer on your skin, too.

More importantly, they gave the collection a touch of sleek, ’90s-ish sex appeal, a quality that isn’t always found in “sustainable fashion.” Perhaps it’s because designers in the space tend to prioritize timelessness and ease, or because “responsible” and “sexy” seem like opposite values. McManus’s whisper-sheer turtlenecks and slips check all of those boxes and bring something genuinely new to the market.

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