'Help, i have done it, again. I, have been here many times before. Hurt myself again today and, the worst part is there's no one else to blame. Be my friend. Hold me, wrap me up. Unfold me, i am small and needy. Warm me up and breathe me...' And so began Linda Loudermilk's dreamy collection for Fall 2007. As the dulcet tones of Australian singing sensation Sia echoed through the main room of the Altman Building, you could almost hear a pin drop as we all sat on the edge of our seats in anticipation.
The predominantly white, pearl, and dove grey 'Too Hot to Handle' collection resonated with a lofty ambience of clouds and weightlessness. The silhouette included interesting proportions shifting from the sometimes fitted to the more voluminous. And like the songstress who provided the soundtrack, you felt like wrapping yourself up in these beautifully-tailored creations and hibernating until spring. Linda Loudermilk's Fall 2007 Collection is elegant and refined, morphed out of nature's extreme magic. The theme of global warming underscored an inevitable change. And with that inspiration, the notion that if fashion can change the way one feels, isn't it even better when it changes the way we treat our environment?
Nature may be beautiful. But nature is not pretty. Think about it. Domesticate the land: Thresh it, pave it, put up stoplights and call it Sunset Boulevard; nature knows better than all that. In one terrible instant it could all be gone. The foundation shakes. The earth takes the sidewalks into its growling maw. Gone. Later, flowers will grow where once there was a strip mall. And the flowers will be beautiful, because nature makes no apologies for itself. Nature is the original punk. This is the theme underscored on the company's website.
Linda Loudermilk is too smart to call such an imperious and turbulent thing as nature her 'muse.' All that vastness, all those numberless small symmetries, all the brutality and fragility' nature is, to be sure, the creative source material for Ms. Loudermilk's designs. She channels nature's punk energy into clothes of grace and volatility. But nature is less her muse than her major mind-freak. When she patterns a jacket after a waterfall, it's not about making something pretty to wear; it's about holy fearsome awe.
Likewise, the luxury eco™ category Linda Loudermilk invented with the launch of her line wasn't inspired by some predictable sense of patchouli-smelling do-gooderism. The ingenious sustainable fabrics she's developed and sourced for Loudermilk, the brand, reflect the respect that Linda Loudermilk, the woman and artist, has for nature. Bamboo pointelles and soya blends go into clothes that honor nature in ethos, and then they go back into the earth. And there's no need to sacrifice style, because if nature doesn't make apologies, then neither should the people who fortify, fear and believe in it.
As for that style: Forget hemp tunics. In fact, forget hemp entirely. The Loudermilk line is all about refinement' polished, put-together looks that happen to be made from sustainable fabrics and that don't just happen to have that raw and rough around the edges something that make them modern. These are clothes that pack an iconoclastic punch, from noirish suits to sculpturally sexy shift dresses to jeans cut deadly on the hip. That flair for the dramatic comes innately to Linda Loudermilk, who once studied Shakespeare and costume design at Oxford University; so too does the designer's intuitive sense of tailoring, passed down from her couturier grandmother. Sustainable style is already terra incognita, but for Ms. Loudermilk, the pioneering has only just begun. Like nature herself, she's got more foundations to shake...