story by Lisa Radano
photos by Aeric Meredith-Goujon
A model presented herself to designer Laura Siegel, saying “I wasn’t sure what to do with this top.” Siegel, calm and smiling, replied, “Looks like you did exactly what I would have done with it.” At which point another model chimed in, “yes but you could also wear it like this. . . .” The designer agreed, having fully intended the many panels and cutouts to lend a convertible feature to her earthy yet ethereal collection.
A native of Canada, Siegel is an admitted nomad, and finds profound inspiration in her travels. Her layered, embroidered, appliquéd and knitted tunics, dresses and skirts are made with a commitment to sustainable textiles and native crafters from India, Peru and Bolivia. The richly pigmented dyes favored by Siegel are culled from traditional methods, and ancient motifs of flowers and mandalas recur as prints throughout. Two silouettes predominated – a billowy tunic over jodpurs or cotton mesh leggings, and floor length dresses made of diaphanous layers, some peaking through to knitted bodysuits and shorts beneath – grounded by flat sandals or boots and topped with safari style fedoras.
Nature provided the color scheme, leaf green, golden sand, mineral grey, and the muted sky of dawn – and so it was when the models floated from the inside space to be photographed up on the roof deck, that the clothes really came to life. This gently evocative collection seemed to create a calm atmosphere in the midst of the clatter down on Houston street. I asked Siegel to answer in one word, how she wanted her customer to feel wearing the clothes. She did not hesitate. “Happy.”