The designer of the stunning ensemble Michelle Obama wore to Biden’s inauguration cites safari as his inspiration this New York Fashion Week.
Wondering where in the world it’s both safe and stylish to go these days? A look at Sergio Hudson‘s collection for Spring/Summer 2022 brings one word to mind: Safari.
Hudson, who very literally bodied Michelle Obama’s monochromatic, mulberry-colored topcoat-and-trousers look for Joe Biden‘s 2021 inauguration, is once again creating bold color statements this season—along with a resounding message for us to get back outside, by any means necessary.
(Photos: Dan Lecca)
The socially distanced activity we could be giving more consideration this spring-summer season? According to Hudson, who peppered his catwalk with magnified leopard prints, blues reminiscent of skies on the savanna, and hues that evoked cacti and desert flowers, going on safari should be the destination du jour.
As explained via a press release to theGrio:
Hudson remained true to his signature aesthetic with immaculate tailoring and fitted dresses, but also stepped outside of his comfort zone with new silhouettes and fabrications, including safari jackets, mini skirt suits, knitwear and biased cut evening wear made with chiffon and silk charmeuse in pastel shades of mint green, sky blue, and lavender.
The inspiration began with the sound of Afrobeats mixed with pop, à la Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” and the idea of merging two different worlds. “I wanted to have fun and incorporate my usually layered aesthetic into Spring and the theme of Safari kept coming back to me.”
Credit: The Hinton Group
“There were mini dresses with bouncy ruffle hems, tiny shorts sets and delicious trouser suits in bright greens, purples, sunset orange and sunny yellow,” reported the Washington Post. “He played with a brown animal print fit for safari, using it for a range of looks, from a lighter-than-air coat worn with a simple brown dress to a sleeveless evening sparkler.”
(Credit: Dan Lecca)
If we’re honest, the collection also made us crave a little candy coating on this otherwise bittersweet era. Also a lover of pop culture, Hudson says he found further inspiration in iconic TV and film characters from the ’90s (because whether you like the era, don’t, or were there the first time, it’s back).
Clueless heroine Cher Horowitz and Dionne (not to be confused with Stacey Dash), Black bougie icon Whitley Gilbert and even Saved by the Bell‘s Lisa Turtle were additional muses for the collection. The runway even featured a few enduring icons from the era, including pioneering supermodels Beverly Johnson and Veronica Webb. Suffice to say, neither icon has lost a beat.
Beverly Johnson, left; a trio of Hudson’s vivid suits; Veronica Webb Photos: Dan Lecca
“Women don’t stop being beautiful, sexy, smart. They’re even smarter at that age, so why not?” Hudson explained to WaPo of his inclusive presentation.
“If Whitley Gilbert from [A Different World] or Cher Horowitz and Dionne from [Clueless] were to go on safari, what would they wear? It’s just really fun, really cheeky, and clothes that girls can really, really wear and women can really, really wear,” Hudson explained to The Associated Press.
Sergio Hudson, center (Photos: Dan Lecca)
In another major move for his increasingly visible brand, Hudson also debuted a collaboration with footwear label of the moment Malone Souliers, producing a capsule collection of versatile yet sexy laced-up sandals in hues coordinated to his candy-colored collection.
Hudson has been rising through the fashion trenches for years, but has enjoyed well-deserved recognition as of late; a long-overdue yet impactful offset of the racial uprisings of 2020.
“I think it’s changing,” Hudson told WaPo.
“I’m very proud of the fashion industry because doors have been opening and people are becoming more open to the conversation,” he added. “There wasn’t a place for us and I feel like they opened the door. We are designers just like everybody else.”
Maiysha Kai is Lifestyle Editor of theGrio, covering all things Black and beautiful. Her work is informed by two decades’ experience in the fashion and entertainment industries, a love of great books and aesthetics, and the indomitable brilliance of Black culture. She is also the editor of the YA anthology Body (Words of Change series).
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