Maria McManus Resort 2023

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Maria McManus cares. She cares about making beautiful clothes out of sustainable materials and utilizing sustainable processes. She cares about keeping a grounded point of view about the work she is doing in the world that we are currently living in. But for our sake, she cares the most about all the minute details of the clothes she makes: a jacket lining uses two separate fabrics, one for the sleeves and one for the body, for ease of movement. She turns garments inside out so you can better admire the seam finishes. For McManus the devil isn’t in the details, god is. She launched her label two years ago, smack in the middle of the pandemic, and one gets the sense that were she not able to source the kind of recycled and fair-trade materials, or employ the special factories here in New York City and abroad that she does, she wouldn’t do it at all. The process is as important to her as anything else.

This season, she was inspired by Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming,” written during the years after the first World War and the beginning of the flu pandemic. “The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” it reads in part, a phrase which is embroidered on an oversized double-faced felted scarf. “There are scholars that have been studying the second coming for over a hundred years, and I’m not gonna be the one to know what Yeats meant,” she said during an appointment at her Tribeca loft, her dining room transformed into a makeshift showroom. “But I’m taking it as a positive that maybe this is the realization that the West cannot still keep dictators and autocrats going.”

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That feeling of hope translated into pieces that one may feel tempted to describe as clothes for the working woman, but what woman doesn’t work? And so they are clothes for every woman. A double-breasted suit jacket made from a cashmere wool blend feels luxurious to the touch and is lined in biodegradable fabric. (“[It’s] so expensive, but it’s the only lining that I feel comfortable using.”) There are beautiful slouchy pleated trousers that have the ease of a pair of sweatpants and cotton button-down shirts with a beautiful sateen finish. “It’s not in fact organic, but American Supima cotton certified by the Better Cotton Initiative, that they argue is better” she explains.

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