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Collina Strada AW21 collection Aaron Philip frog
Courtesy of Collina Strada

Collina Strada unleashes an Animorphs army at NYFW

The artist behind cult 00s book and cartoon series Animorphs transforms Jazzelle into a dolphin and Jeremy O. Harris into a dinosaur, as part of the NY label’s trippy AW21 ‘show’

When it comes to fashion presentations, no one is doing it like Collina Strada. Debuting a brilliantly berserk acid trip of a collection video for SS21, the label was later selected to show as part of GucciFest, where designer Hillary Taymour dropped a fully playable 3D video game. In a similarly trippy turn of events, Collina Land saw willing adventurers immersed in her cartoony, kaleidoscopic world, as they battled climate change by stomping out forest fires, scooping plastic trash out of the ocean, and inexplicably avoiding being hit by flying bread – all while armoured up in digitally rendered clothing fit for a global warming crisis. 

Now, as fashion season rolls around again, Taymour is thinking outside the box once more. Turning her attention to cult 00s sci-fi book series Animorphs, the designer enlisted the series’ OG artist David Mattingly to transform her model line-up into the ‘Collina-mals’, with frogs, snakes, cats, and even balloon animals on the line-up. “It felt like a fun way to incorporate nature and the environment in a digital way,” she explains. “Going back to your childhood is very much on brand with what we do, too.” 

With the whole project co-masterminded and animated by Charlie Engman and New York-based artist Freeka Tet, who uses animatronics and machine learning to create art, those getting the transhuman treatment include Jeremy O. Harris, Jazzelle, Engman’s mom, and Dazed 100 model Aaron Philip, who Mattingly turned into a cute tree frog. “I love the closing look she wears. It’s like a princess bodysuit gown,” Taymour reveals. “When I saw it being worn, it just did something to my soul.”

For those not familiar with Animorphs, Collina Strada’s AW21 partnership with Mattingly feels very fitting. Beyond telling the story of killer alien slugs landing on planet earth (yes, really), K.A. Applegate’s mammoth series served teens a dark depiction of a war, tackled mental health issues, and took a deep dive into climate change and its impact on the planet – an issue Taymour takes very seriously. So much so, that this season, her dedication to highlighting and combating it through her clothing has spawned a new collab. 

Joining forces with luxury reseller The RealReal, this season’s collection is largely crafted from upcycled deadstock and vintage pieces that have been transformed into boldly clashing floral flares and skintight tees, chevron-patterned pannier skirts, and slinky, diaphanous slip dresses, as worn with chunky recycled knits.

Moving towards a truly circular system, the label also linked up with The OR Foundation once more. Based in Accra, Ghana, the non-profit organisation explores the secondhand clothing trade in the country, and supplied Taymour with single-use t-shirts from which she crafted further pieces. “The future of fashion is way, way, way, way more upcycling,” Taymour concludes. “It’s the bare minimum we can do at this point.”

Check out the collection in the gallery above.