Collina Strada has called on AI to help create its spring/summer 2024 collection, unveiled during New York Fashion Week.
With fashion so future facing – the entire industry works a minimum of 18 months in advance – it was inevitable that designers would embrace artificial intelligence.
Collina Strada is the first brand to do so, at least publicly, as New York designer Hillary Taymour and her team have put the technology to the test. Since launching in 2008, the label has focused on sustainability, making its collections from dead stock and recycled clothing.
After feeding the entire Collina Strada archive into the machine, it was asked to create looks that were then refined by the team, before being fed back in again over a series of weeks.
As the technology learnt Taymour's preferences, and the wilder elements were tamed by the human hand, the final results were then handed over to the studio team to be translated from a drawing into an actual garment. Seeing the results, this was clearly no easy task.
To highlight the existential disconnect between humanity and machine, Taymour instructed her models to walk the runway with forced smiles and clenched fists. The effect of these manic grins, and the slightly surreal clothing, made for a weirdly beautiful collection.
AI offers a new take on the label that is fresh, while the more outlandish elements have been tempered, so what's left is a slight visual shift that forces a double take. A strappy camisole top has been shifted down the body to become a mini dress, while a silken suit with lace inserts has a cloud of tulle added to the back.
Another look features a skirt gathered like a parachute, worn with a hoodie with seams shaped like a star, while elsewhere, shorts have side-skirts added to one hip. Tops, meanwhile, come as if moulded with rounded shoulders, in a skilful display of cutting.
The same shoulders are seen on a dress caught at the hip in intricate folds, with the top half made of a bib, layered over another neckline, with moulded shoulder caps. Indian-American actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia walked the runway wearing a tie-dyed suit, which on closer inspection had trousers with three waistbands.
While offering a new approach, this slightly surreal collection is far from fantastical. While it shows that the human hand is still needed to actually create and hone the looks, it paves the way for a more computer-aided future.