Emerging Designers: Abigail Daphne Lewis

Considering that she’s only just graduated from the Parson’s MFA program, Abigail Daphne Lewis displays an impressive depth – a talent one would consider to be a sign of experience and time. But maybe it’s the simple headspace that a school program offers that has allowed Lewis to delve into the complexities she has with her graduate collection.

The thickest-ply cashmeres and couture-level glass medical tubing-cum bead work are beautiful as they catch the light and envelope the body. How the clothes interact with their environment and the context in which the pieces are worn is something Lewis considered. The feel of the clothes was important as well. But beneath the beautiful tailoring, sculptural layering, and painstaking beading lie troves of thoughts on gender conventions and domesticity (a reclaimed smock or apron), Jungian concepts (Jung’s enantidromia is clear in the delicate glasswork that acquires strength in its repetition), and the importance of intellect. Her clothes, as her website says, are “for women who think.”

 In an earlier interview Abigail tells me:

“The woman I design for is deeply complex and embodies an array of contradictions. I am interested in her life and opinions apart from fashion. She uses style to draw people inward, but her mind quickly overpowers physical beauty. She is at peace with the strength required of fragility.”

In other words: the clothes offer protection, comfort, and vestments in which to live your life, but she’ll let you speak for yourself.

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Photography courtesy of Abigail Daphne Lewis, in collaboration with Paul Jung.

Watch Emerging Designer Karolyn Pho.