Utopia: Spring 2018 Inspiration

Mercedes Castillo - Utopia.jpg

For pre-spring and spring, my team and I found ourselves daydreaming of Utopia, a fantasy destination in a remote tropical country.

Utopian Experiment in the Tropics

Our imaginary paradise includes a modernist concept home on a white-sand beach lapped by azure waves. But the dream home is more than an exotic getaway; in our minds, it’s also a utopian experiment.

The house is designed with clean, geometric architecture, open space and huge windows that blur lines between indoors and outdoors. Surrounded by lush, wild gardens, the home is filled with well-loved midcentury artwork, found treasures and beautiful, locally made crafts.

Design Springboard: Modern Art and Local Crafts

Back in my non-utopian real life, I often travel to Brazil to work with artisans who craft our collections. My journeys have created a strong tie in my mind between the tropical South American country and its beautiful tiles: ceramic art that blends Old World craftsmanship with

New World geometric abstraction.

A panel of white tiling—its geo shapes forming hexagons, circles and ovoid petals—was the inspiration for Spring 2018’s Origami Tiles styles. The collection pieces are spare, minimalist and embellished with origami geometric circles, the folded leather echoing the tile’s geo petals.

More Utopia floral inspiration can be seen in our Calla Interlock line. Continuing a design thread from our Fall/Winter 2017-2018 collection, Calla Interlock pieces bend sculpture-like leather circles into exotic 3-D flora. Clean-lined yet utterly feminine, the leather Calla blossoms and pearl ovules lend each piece texture and movement.

As our dreams of Utopia expanded, we fantasized the home was owned by a family of collectors in Africa. Mirroring Utopia’s tropical light and bright flowers, the walls hung with modernist Color Field paintings. Alongside the midcentury masterworks, the owners placed locally made, handwoven textiles and simple braided hemp rugs.

Our vision of this rich mix of color and tactile texture led to spring’s Abstract Art Weave line. In it, you’ll see the red and blue rustic-weave upper on a simple slide…a foldover leather thong on a bare sandal…an airy, woven vamp on a flat slipper.

We share our Spring 2018 Collection with the hope that you experience your own Utopia each time you wear one of our pieces.

— Mercedes