At Home With... Collina Strada
What to wear to help the world? NYC label Collina Strada might have the answer. Over the past few seasons, the brand has been a driving force in raising industry awareness on matters of sustainability, delivering their message via runway presentations that incorporate everything from reusable water bottles, to babies, to show notes containing instructions on ways to live more consciously. Oh, and also some of NYFW’s coolest clothes, made using 75% deadstock fabric. So where does designer Hillary Taymour retreat to once her work is done? We visited her at her apartment in South Williamsburg, a tranquil space for a busy mind (and also one with a freezer full of compost).
Tell us about where you live...
I live in a small pocket of Williamsburg that is still very much untravelled. It feels like a little sanctuary just outside the city. I put an offer on this apartment in the Fall of 2013 and got a phone call six months later saying that the original buyer fell through. It was an apartment I’d totally forgotten about, but I bought it over the phone that morning and we’ve been living happily together ever since. I love living in Brooklyn and the calm it brings when you leave the city - and the local street tacos directly outside my house!
How did you go about furnishing the space?
It’s always a work in progress. I’m such a maximalist when it comes to clothes that I try to keep my apartment peaceful and serene so I can design with a clear mind. Surprisingly, the apartment is quite minimal and white.
When I moved into this house all I brought with me was my bed and vintage credenza. The mirrors and side tables I made myself, through a project called Social + Studies. I’m always searching on Ebay, Chairish and second hand furniture websites. I do a lot of custom furniture and consulting work for interiors - it’s kind of my side passion. The artwork is from Gail Stoicheff, Suzannah Wainhouse and Ana Kras, alongside thrifted and found pieces. The carpet is from my friends Cold Picnic.
What’s your favourite detail in the apartment?
The original mouldings in the living room and kitchen.
What was the last piece of art you bought, or ogled?
I am obsessed with everything Alix Marie.
What’s in your fridge?
Really old birthday cake, oat milk, white wine, and organic condiments. I also keep face rollers and compost in the freezer.
Five dream dinner guests?
Autumn Peltier, Greta Thunberg, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Vic Barrett and Nina Gualinga.
What’s the most surprising thing we’d find if we looked in your closet?
A water saw. In 2016 I got super into cutting marble shapes and making vases and weird sculptures. I wasn’t very good at it, so the saw just sits in my closet now!
Last thing you had delivered to your apartment?
Custom temporary tattoos from Etsy.
Favorite thing about your neighbourhood?
The fire hydrants are always popping in the summer.
New York’s hidden gem?
What’s your favourite restaurant and what do you eat there?
Marlow Bistro, and I have their potato tortilla.
What would be your perfect weekend?
Hiking through nature, cooking, hanging out with my dog, and having some time to think.
First thing you do when you wake up?
I say good morning to my dog after he jumps on me to wake me up!
Do you have any unusual habits or rituals?
I post a case study of something weird and interesting every day on my Instagram.
When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?
I like painting, cooking, playing with my dog and making new accessories for him, alongside just creating.
What was your route into design?
I dropped out of normal college. I had a terrible English teacher that insisted on giving me a C, so I dropped out and enrolled in fashion school a semester later. I’d always been obsessed with clothes and it just felt right. Whilst in school I worked for a few companies designing and assisting, and I haven’t looked back since.
Where does the name Collina Strada come from?
Collina means “hill” in Italian, and Strada means “road”. I never really felt like a Hillary, so Collina is my alter ego.
What would you most like to change about the world?
I mostly just want to change the attitudes and behaviors people have when dealing with the climate.
If someone had never heard of Collina Strada, how would you describe the brand?
Chinatown prints mixed with tie dye mixed with crunchy mom vibes mixed with cool-girl-out-on-the-town.
What’s been your biggest adventure?
This game called life.
What’s your idea of happiness?
What are the biggest distractions in your life?
What's the last dream that you can remember having?
My two-year-old niece that walked in my show came up to me in my studio and was super excited to show me her “bowl of fun”, but when I looked in the bowl there was nothing there... but I was still so excited!
Last thing you do before bed?
Caudalie detox face oil.
Photography by Jonathan Middleton
Interview by Georgia Graham
Styling by Sally Bottomley