New Landscapes: Hogan McLaughlin Fall 2019

The Fantasia of theatrical dance and opera, its amplified wardrobe and dramatic makeup, isn’t the scene for self-named label Hogan McLaughlin. He prefers a quieter entrance.

Instead, the Chicagoan creative, a trained ballet dancer, illustrator, and fashion designer casts color to a collection of simple, yet artfully sculpted pieces. A full-length moss colored gown with high length pleats that allowed the fabric to dance around the garment’s hem, a cropped wing shaped cape in the shade of midnight and the cocoon arrowhead dress of rose pigment are among looks that manifested the designer’s fascination with Scandinavian landscape.

The connection to Mother Nature comes from an appreciation for Northern Europe’s scenery and architecture. McLaughlin describes the view as “clean and modern,” elaborating, “Scandinavian forests and landscapes [were a pinpoint of inspiration] I thought of a sunset, punctuation with bright orange and some yellow.” Marigold and sherbet engulfed a few of the free-flowing formed dresses. These colors of the sunset present new horizons.

McLaughlin’s embrace for variation amid a disciplined vision for minimalism lends to his approach in his third fashion week season. The designer internalizes each opportunity to show his designs as a learning experience, adding color and sportswear to his formal evening wear enterprise.

He took the curve to design trousers, jumpers, and custom, Dr. Martins, this season. Illustrations of a hand sprouting tree branches from its fingertips printed on the hooded pullovers and paintings of awaking sparse pine trees on the boots are details by artist Bill Safi, fiancé to the designer and a familiar collaborator from the last collection. The artwork was a gesture to Icelandic folklore, ‘ Huldufolk,’ about the elves that live in the said territory of interest. The drawing symbolizes an honor to creation, exploration for creative pursuit and interest in life forms unknown. A quiet, but nevertheless pronounced detail to the collection made my heart weak.

Just like the sunset, always surprises.

Valerie McPhail

Valerie McPhail is a New York-based writer on things of style and artistic expression. She has a portfolio of writing for both fashion and art publications. Although she enjoys covering fashion news and supporting new designers, her favorite subject to explore is the experience of fashion and how life is communicated through clothing. She believes there is a lot to be said about this.