On every seat at the Collina Strada fall/winter 2024 show was a page of show notes with a logo for a gym I wish existed: Collina’s Gym. The slogan was, “Where your inner feminine power takes outer chiseled form.”
Backstage after the show, I asked designer Hillary Taymour about the inspiration behind the collection. She answered with just one word, “Chaos.” Then I asked her how she chose the music, which featured a delicate chorus of female voices over a booming heavy metal track remixed with snippets of Britney Spears’s Stronger, to which she also replied, “Chaos!” And when I asked her to point out which looks she was most excited to see walk down the runway, she declared, “Chaos!” before pointing out the second-to-last look: a gray organza gown with puffed up sleeves that resembled the muscular arms of a bodybuilder. “I love all of these organza muscles,” she said. “It's like the epitome of feminine strength in a garment.”
“I love all of these organza strong muscles and they're still super feminine,” she said. “It's like the epitome of feminine strength in a garment.”
Taymour’s collection was all about being a strong woman in a world of…chaos. She chose not to cast any cis men this season but instead her friends, some bodybuilders, a pregnant model, and another model who had recently given birth and walked with her baby cradled onto her hip.
In the show notes, Taymour wrote, “With women constantly passed over for power positions, the femme body and mind has long been shaped by the imagination of men. It’s about time we re-sculpted that meat-headed vision into something closer to the reality of femininity—something altogether sweatier yet more refined.” Some models even carried squash weights, which are exactly what they sound like. When I asked Taymour about those she enthusiastically screeched, “Squash weights!” before telling me, “I’ve been wanting to have squash weights in my show for four years and finally….it just worked out.”
With the idea of girlhood, girl math, girl dinner, and the girl ribbon economy seeping into every recent conversation of how women want to dress, Taymour offers a different take. Her latest collection features molded organza lumps and bumps that look like muscles; clothing that is still feminine in her signature psychedelic color printed palette but not in the obvious way. It’s proof that girlhood doesn’t have just one aesthetic, that you can still lean into your femininity in ways that haven’t always been celebrated, and that you don’t have to tie a bow onto everything to feel like a girl. If anything, in a world filled with chaos, sweat probably feels like a more authentic accessory anyway.
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