Raquel Allegra has been spending most of lockdown in her Topanga garden. It’s more of a backyard oasis, really; you can glimpse it in her fall 2021 look book, filled with lush trees, towering leafy plants, succulents, and flowers growing every which way. Allegra has always strived to feel in communion with her surroundings, but the pandemic awakened a new urgency to bring this more fully into her work. “Human nature: We are of nature, not separate,” she wrote in a letter about the collection. Her artful clothes were a comfort to women stuck at home this year, but it’s easy to imagine wearing them out in nature too, whether you’re gardening in one of her tie-dyed jumpsuits or spending a week in the woods with a duffel of jersey separates and zero cell service.
For fall, she paid closer attention to how her clothes may unintentionally impact those surroundings—namely after they’re already in your closet. Going forward, nearly all of her garment tags will read “machine washable,” not “dry-clean only,” in an effort to avoid the toxic chemicals involved in the dry-cleaning process. Now, her customer can choose her own detergent, ideally a nontoxic one. Allegra said the shift was just as much about streamlining our lives; dry-cleaning is simply a hassle, and it often inspires us to wear our favorite things less often than we’d like. Allegra’s clothes are ultrasoft, but they aren’t meant to be precious; she wants you to wear them every day, wash them when you need to, and repeat.
Fall’s lineup had more pieces for the R.A. woman to covet, some in surprisingly bright, energetic shades of lilac, peony, lime, and orange. It was refreshing to see Allegra pivot from her usual earth tones and experiment with some new shapes too. There was a balance of “masculine” and “feminine” details and silhouettes (as they’re conventionally defined, at least), with hoodies and mannish trousers on one end and sleek, sensual tank dresses on the other. A clever ruffled kerchief lent a bit of Victorian charm knotted over sweatshirts and blazers.
Partly by virtue of seeing this collection via Zoom, it was those colorful items that stood out, like a bias-cut knit dress in tie-dyed orchid and a jacket and trouser set in flamingo pink. Allegra said she was inspired by flowers—not simply their colors and beauty, but the “unapologetic” way a flower blooms and grows. A rose doesn’t question itself or try to alter its appearance; it’s audacious and unflinching, perhaps enviously so, working toward a single purpose with ease. “I think people recognize that about flowers, even if they don’t necessarily put it into words,” Allegra said.
As women reemerge, she wants to help them feel the same way: bold, uninhibited, one of a kind, with no regrets. After the year we’ve had, who isn’t craving a little audacity and color? What do we have to hide or hold back? Allegra called it “a revival of the heart.” In case you need a little extra encouragement when the day comes, she penned a letter to her community on a T-shirt: “Somebody in California loves you.”
- Compiled from Emily Barra + Vogue