Maria McManus Resort 2022 Collection
Maria McManus’ seaside resort lookbook opens with a future legacy of a sweater. The salt and pepper curly top and generous silhouette are what you notice first – McManus pointed out the curved sleeves, which are designed to hold their shape – but she was just as meticulous about where the threads come from. The fluffy feel comes from recycled cashmere, the bouncy lightness from recycled nylon and the rest is wool. McManus was quick to note that it was unable to obtain fibers certified by the Responsible Wool Standard, which confirms they came from farms that put animal welfare first. Few designers can say that 100% of their collections are certified or traceable; it’s something McManus hopes to improve as we go along. While others would put too much emphasis on the mostly recycled nature of the sweater, she is candid about its advancements and the limits of sustainable fashion.
The big picture, of course, is that the sweater has a significantly smaller footprint than your average virgin cashmere or wool knit. The same goes for her organic cotton shirts (now made in New York), brushed wool bathrobes and ribbed recycled cashmere cardigans. For Resort 2022, McManus’ third collection since its launch, the offer has grown impressively: it introduced clothing made from RWS-certified ultra-fine wool; blouses and bright dresses in cupro, a more sustainable alternative to silk; organic cotton and recycled cashmere blend sweaters, its solution to reducing the supply of recycled cashmere on the market; and, perhaps most surprisingly, a handful of barely layered sheer pieces of recycled nylon and merino. They look a bit like the mesh underwear that women wear under dresses and blazers, but these are usually virgin polyester or nylon. Beyond their more responsible design, McManus also have the benefit of being gentler on your skin.
Most importantly, they gave the collection a touch of stylish 90s sex appeal, a quality not always found in sustainable fashion. Maybe that’s because space designers tend to prioritize timelessness and ease, or because responsible and sexy seem to be opposing values. McManus’ turtlenecks and ultra-sheer briefs tick all of those boxes and bring something truly new to the market.