Photos by Amanda Coen for Ecouterre

Leanne Marshall’s Fall/Winter 2013 collection has a heavier and more serious feeling than previous collections. Filled with black, golds and corals, the collection featured fine fabrics treated with a variety of plant-based, natural dyes. The former Season 5 Project Runway winner veered away from the more pastel-based, light, petally look that has tended to define the label. Instead, Marshall found inspiration in the organic, imperfections she saw in a mushroom and her designs grew from there. Check out Ecouterre’s exclusive photos from the show.

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Those in attendance were quite surprised by Leanne Marshall FW2013. Expecting gravity-defying ruffles or perhaps wedding gowns, the show featured very little of the sort. Many after-show comments revolved around the color palette. When asked what distinguishes this collection from former ones, Marshall explained, “First of all, people are like, ‘There’s black in here!’ Everybody’s used to pastels. You know, it’s Fall/Winter. I put the coral in there, some nice icy grey, there’s some black and there’s some gold. There’s not as many petals in this collection as there are in a lot of my other ones. I’m doing a lot of wedding dresses so I’m doing petals all the time. For this collection it was really whatever I wanted to do at that given moment and I just ran with it!”

The collection mirrors two prominent inspirations. The first came from a photograph from the early 20th century. Marshall describes, “It was of this girl, or young lady, in 1914. I really loved the silhouette of her dress. It had a very proper look to it and that influenced the overall design of this collection.” Though the collection features several designs with plunging necklines and strapless tops, a notable number of high, more modest necklines and long dresses reflect a certain sophistication likely influenced by the photograph.

While building on her signature architecturally sculptured layers and flowing dresses that respond to movement, Marshall also found inspiration in a darker, more mysterious object. She commented, “I was first inspired by a picture of a mushroom. I really like the underside texture but it was also more organic looking and less perfect than you would find in other mushrooms.” She began experimenting with silks, hand-dyeing them and wringing them out to dry, admiring the unexpected, mushroom-like textures that resulted.

The designer also expanded on her commitment to sustainable practices. Many of the dresses are lined with organic cotton and most of the gold material is actually a hemp-silk blend that has great texture and drape. Speaking of her process, Marshall described “I dyed most of the silks using vegetables, weeds and other natural based plant dyes to achieve the colors that I liked.” While the colors tended to be more neutral and darker than her usual palette, Marshall followed her instinct. “I knew starting off that I wanted to use gold and coral for some reason. Mushrooms aren’t really gold and coral but that was what I wanted.” Thus, the FW 2013 collection came to life.

+ Leanne Marshall