Over the past two years of the pandemic, Raquel Allegra’s well-established signatures have served her well. Always balancing an innate feel for comfort with a kaleidoscopic color palette that manages to be at once earthy and electric—as well as her signature hand-crafted tie-dyes in an array of dazzling patterns—Allegra’s clothes carry the exact balance of ease and Zoom-ready pizzazz we’ve all been craving. With that in mind, it would have been easy for the Los Angeles-based designer to stay the course this season and offer another variation on that theme. Instead, however, she decided to lean into something more art-adjacent—and in doing so, returned to her creative roots while adding a new, post-pandemic sense of refinement.
It all began with a book of the writings of Georgia O’Keeffe the designer picked up during a stay at her second home near the picturesque town of Taos, New Mexico. “Georgia was the first artist that I ever kind of became aware of as a little girl through my mom’s eyes, and she’s just been one of those artists for me that’s always been there in the background,” Allegra says. “In a way, I’ve almost taken her for granted a little bit.”
While she acknowledges that this is hardly the first time O’Keeffe’s work has inspired a fashion collection, it’s rare to see it done so seamlessly. In place of anything too literal, Allegra looked to the artist’s intoxicating color palette of dusty ochres, twilight blues, and rich, piercing sunflower yellows for inspiration, while also paying homage to the various flora that inspired the sensual curves and lines of her forms by way of abstracted, hand-painted prints. For the sun-dappled lookbook, shot at a restored mid-century home in Topanga that—not by accident—belonged to an artist and ceramicist, the pieces took on a cinematic quality, worn by a pair of twins whose striking beauty felt somewhere between Sissy Spacek and Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. Twirling the dramatic sleeves of the feather-light tie-dyed kimonos, or standing in the long ruched silk dresses in midnight blue and a light chartreuse, the overall effect is one of louche, gently faded Californian glamour.
Still, there are plenty of Allegra’s staples for her loyal customers to sink their teeth into—floaty printed dresses, colorful cashmere sweaters, relaxed pants in jersey featuring striped tie-dyes—as well as a few more of-the-moment touches, such as the ombré mesh tops which offer a more grown-up, artsy take on the Gen Z item du jour. This season, Allegra provided all the comfort and practicality you come to her for, with just the right amount of playfulness to nudge it forward.