Entering Katie Gallagher’s “True Red” show was like descending into the Addams family’s basement. Black mesh, smudged eyeliner, and red roses were everywhere you looked. The underground setup was reminiscent of an art gallery, with models standing frozen behind oversized wooden frames. The space was industrial yet modern. Wall-to-wall mirrors reflected the red rose petals that were strewn on the exposed cement floors. However, in lieu of the Marilyn Manson-esque music one might expect, a live harpist played serene melodies instead.
These stark juxtapositions fit the “True Red” collection to a T: every look had a salacious, gothic edge while still retaining a flowing femininity. Black dresses and skirts dominated the room, each with a distinct pop of red. And in a collection this dark, vivid accents are really brought to the forefront, namely bold white spotted tights and heels with Dorothy-esque red bows. The makeup especially solidified the ensembles. Models pouted with shiny, blood red lips, their eyeliner the perfect balance between edgy and teary. Each had at least one red rose in her hair. Gallagher played with billowing fabrics in this collection, and a floor length wool dress was a big statement piece. However, that in no way connotes modesty: Red pasties were a big theme, and the use of mesh tops put them front-and-center.
Katie Gallagher is fairly new to the world of high fashion, but has already garnered wide reaching acclaim: In 2009, New York Magazine named her as a top six New York designer, and she was one of the New York Times style magazine’s “magnificent 7”. Her previous collections have been in a similar vein– dark mesh with a single color accent– but each has its own distinct feel. While the “True Red” collection is gothic and morbid, the black and orange-tinted “Hallow” collection in Fall 2017 gave a playful nod to Halloween. And Spring 2018’s “Rain” evoked the ocean with its icy blue and black theme. Though she has established a visual MO, Gallagher is an expert at manipulating palette and emotion.
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