Jolibe S/S 09

Joel Diaz puts on a minimal presentation that lets the clothes do the talking.

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Jolibe by Joel Diaz is only in its second year, but the Dominican designer is just picking up speed with his menswear-inspired approach to womenswear. After graduating from Parsons in 1992, Diaz continued to develop his innovative tastes by working for the venerable Helmut Lang as well as Paco Rabanne and Theory, before launching Jolibe in the Spring of 2007.

When asked what inspired the ethereal looks from his latest collection, Diaz replied, "It all started with a brown piece of paper and evolved from there." Through his progressive thought process, the brown piece of paper in question managed to morph into an anthology of meticulously tailored diaphanous dresses crafted from silk, organza and chiffon, as well as drapey oversized trousers, vests and jackets. Diaz's color palette ranges from browns, blacks and tans to the brighter end of the spectrum with splashes of royal blue, salmon pink and plenty of gold. While layers of vertical panels and embroidered handiwork courtesy of a Afghan Hands (a charity founded by Martin Maulawizada to train and educate women in Afghanistan) lent a somewhat tribal quality to the dresses, other pieces (i.e. a solid gold pantsuit and a dramatic black dress with extended hips forming a trapezoidal skirt) look like they've been beamed to the studio from the future. "I can be impulsive sometimes," remarked Diaz, "Maybe it was because the Olympics were on while I was working on the collection, but there are a lot of stripes this time!"
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