Reese Cooper Sets a Serious Tone with Nature-Inspired Autumn-Winter 2021 Collection

The Los Angeles-based designer redefines the concept of runway.

Wow. Thought-provoking, eye-catching and groundbreaking are just a few of the ways we’d describe Reese Cooper’s AW 2021 collection presentation, released today. Set amongst the mountains overlooking Los Angeles, CA, the runway show titled, “Pyrophyte” captures your attention from the get-go with bird’s eye view clips of lush Californian pine trees interspliced with roaring wildfire footage. An interview soundtrack establishes the setting as Mt. Wilson Observatory, an astronomical facility dedicated to the observation of the cosmos. The observatory faced destruction due to widespread forest fire in 2009, commentary on the potential destruction humankind faces if we don’t step up to protect the environment now.

Dominated by an organic color palette of earth brown, cargo green and clay orange, the collection is a reconnection to nature. Outdoorsman-like clothing takes center stage with cargo pants, chunky plaid wool coats, fleece jackets and hiking boots. The designer accessorizes each look in post-2020 fashion with masks of varying types including classic over-the-ear surgical masks and turtleneck masks. Like fashionable lone survivors of a post-apocalyptic world, models march through the rugged terrain of the observatory grounds to a foreboding soundtrack of natural ambient noise and the plucking of violin strings, stirring up a feeling of bleakness in reference to our future environment. 

Models are layered up against the elements in natural silhouettes. A varsity jacket fittingly emblazoned with “Forest Service” ties into the natural setting. Smoke envelopes the models as they walk the runway of a metal bridge juxtaposed in a lush forest until entering the landmark observatory to a soundtrack of siren-like violin strings. A plethora of hats are on display in this collection including a fisherman’s bucket hat with an attached hanging mask. Noted are the chest straps fashioned onto many of the jackets, almost like a safety belt or caution tape protecting the wearer from its surroundings.

This film festival-worthy video presentation concludes with the eponymous designer making his appearance during the final line up along the walkway encircling the globe-like structure and flashing a peace sign, a sentiment we long for the most amongst a social environment riddled with hate and violence.


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