Though the fall 2022 womenswear season has not begun in earnest yet, the collections shown amidst the men’s and couture shows have displayed a fascination with breasts. Here’s a drawing of a breast, the outline of a bosom, a totally sheer top… all designed by men. Hmm. British designer Talia Byre is too sensitive to a woman’s life and too tuned-in to the geography of a woman’s mind to be so obvious with her stitchings up and dressings down of femininity.
The black dress in her fall 2022 collection cuts out a new way to approach bosomy sensuality. She designed it by patching together pieces to define the bustline, the tight waist, the long torso, and let it loose to pleat in a skirt and train. When her longtime fit model tried it on, the collaged knits acted like a bustier, pushing up the breasts like a balconette. “Kind of sexy!” Byre laughed, almost surprised. “I thought it was an office dress, but maybe it’s an evening one.”
Unlike what the boys do, Byre’s clothes are not garments about your body. They are for your body, crafted with the utmost attention to the wrinkles of womanhood. It’s no wonder that Byre’s fandom stretches wide: Her 17-year old cousin recently visited her studio to try on pieces, styling them low-rise and slinky as is the look for Gen Z girls. On the other end of the spectrum, modesty accounts follow Byre on Instagram and recommend her full coverage knits, now available in moss green mohair.
In concept, her fall 2022 collection, titled Duet, pulls from two dance performances with that title: Yvonne Rainier and Trisha Brown’s from 1963 and Merce Cunningham’s from 1980. The friction between the classicism of ballet and abstraction of modern dance is Byre’s driving force; she equates it to her practice: “My silhouettes are super classical but chopped up inside,” she says. Acid greens and lilacs are pulled from the costumes of Cunningham’s dancers, painstakingly dyed to be the exact hue. Other pieces have layered nylon pouf skirts, as if Ungaro designed a tutu. A lavender warm-up suit is outrageously alluring for both its volume and its ease.
In addition, she’s expanded her repertoire to include tight fitting blazers fastened with hooks-and-eyes, narrow in the shoulder, arm, and bust, and flaring out over the hips. They are paired with coordinating skirts that look like minis with midi skirts peeking out underneath. Styled with blouson nylon pants, pouf skirts, and even leotard bottoms, the blazers’ versatility prove the breadth and efficacy of Byre’s ideas. Every garment has a purpose, but it only has a life when you make it your own. From a woman’s mind, a woman’s wardrobe is born.