Marchesa takes a leaf from art history books for collection of sumptuous fairytale ballgowns at New York Fashion Week


Marchesa takes a leaf from art history books for collection of sumptuous fairytale ballgowns at New York Fashion Week

A-listers, place your orders. Marchesa is now accepting gown requests for the Oscars.

The collection that designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig turned out Wednesday at their New York Fashion Week runway show at the Plaza Hotel had the audience mesmerized – mostly wondering how the models moved in such elaborate creations.

The designers said in their notes that the inspiration was a portrait painting from 1879: William Adolphe Bourgueraus' A Soul Brought to Heaven.

Marchesa

Goddess gowns: The new Marchesa collection, which showed at New York Fashion Week last night, was made for the red carpet, and is sure to make a reappearance at the Academy Awards

They had to show a picture of it to have it all make sense, but once the first gown appeared on the runway – a cream-coloured, hand-embroidered coat with mermaid-hem pleated tulle gown – the crowd seemed captivated.

From there, they moved into even more elaborate designs, including a champagne-colored gown with feathers that seems to float between the layers of tulle and another strapless feathered dress that looked as if it floated in with the clouds.

Marchesa

Romantic: The finale was a gown with red embroidery on an otherwise sheer bodice and a taffeta ballskirt

Marchesa

Marchesa

Spoilt for choice: Designer Georgina Chapman admitted she couldn't choose a favourite gown

'Each dress is my favourite,' said Ms Chapman a few days before the show.

'You look at something for a while and get used to it, and then the new thing becomes your favourite, but what I love is how it all comes together.'

Marchesa

Marchesa

Marchesa

Skill: The concept and craftsmanship Ms Chapman and Ms Craig have evolved is something to marvel at

Marchesa

Marchesa

Marchesa

Short and sweet: Even the dresses with higher hemlines were exquisitely crafted

There was little here for the normal
folks who go about their daily lives without a red carpet, but one can
dream. The concept and craftsmanship Ms Chapman and Ms Craig have evolved is
something to marvel at.

It would be a shame if the finale piece, a gown with red embroidery on an otherwise sheer bodice with a high neck and a hand-draped taffeta ballskirt, wasn't seen again.

More highlights from yesterday at New York Fashion Week

PROENZA SCHOULER

Proenza Schouler presented a new collection of straightforward clothes that not only include the trends that emerged at New York Fashion Week but tweaked them with fresh and modern twists.

It's as if designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez chose to highlight only the trends the cool girl would wear, and that allowed them to be a little sharper in executing military influences and use of leather in their collection.

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler

Winter white: Proenza Schouler showed looks that reversed what one might think about the style seasons

They opened their preview Wednesday night with a series of looks that reversed what one might think about the style seasons: There were white pants and dresses, cotton-poplin jacquard fabrics and an overall crispness that is so often associated with summer.

Cool girl style: Designers Lazaro Hernandez (left) and Jack McCollough (right) take a bow

Cool girl style: Designers Lazaro Hernandez (left) and Jack McCollough (right) take a bow

But if those things look so good, why not wear them on Labor Day Or Thanksgiving They certainly made the case with shift dresses and jackets with chunky hardware and asymmetrical lines.

The rest of the runway was more traditional for autumn: black, crimson and chestnut dominated the palette. The leather that's been everywhere in these seasonal previews for stylists, editors and retailers sometimes had a cracked finish here, or it was woven for a novel effect that showed fine craftsmanship and allowed for lots of color without being too bold for a season that's been dominated by dark neutrals.

There was indeed a lot of leather, turning up as pleated suit trousers, dropped-waist dresses and a cage-style leather-lace coat. Other jackets had asymmetrical leather ties on the shoulder, which were ladylike but also next generation.

Many of the styles got extra edge from exposed, chunky zippers.

Beautiful brocade fabrics provided an elegant contrast in the final group of cocktail dresses that had additional embroidery of birds as decoration.

NANETTE LEPORE

Ever the Midwestern woman, Nanette Lepore sent a colourful but practical collection down the runway.

The Ohio native used deep, saturated reds, purples, blues and greens – no black – in her separates, prints and footwear. The line was modest too, no plunging necklines or slits to the thigh.

Nanette Lepore

Nanette Lepore

Nanette Lepore

Demure silhouette: Nanette Lepore went for more modest dresses, adding drama with colour and print

'The sort of overt sexiness of the last couple of years is gone and it's back to a more sort of modest or demure silhouette,' the designer said backstage. 'Which I think is a great way for a woman to feel sexy because I don't think it's always about skin.'

Ms Lepore put pockets in her dresses and some models wore flats and loafers, not something often seen on the runway.

The shoes were shiny jewel-toned blue, gold and pink. She used gold lame for a bouncy dress and jacket. The prints were intricate, inspired by tarot cards and gems.

J MENDEL

Gilles Mendel's new collection moved seamlessly between the expertly crafted fur he is famous for and the goddess red-carpet gowns that are exposing his brand J Mendel to a larger audience.

An ivory chiffon-embroidered gown with tulle insets and a fully pleated bottom seemed ready for the Oscars.

J Mendel

J Mendel

J Mendel

Elegant: Gilles Mendel's collection moved seamlessly between the fur he is famous for and red carpet gowns

Mr Mendel favoured a light, feminine touch that fashion insiders haven't seen all that much in the first seven days of seasonal previews for fall.

There was a long, graceful shape to the white cashmere coat with a white fox collar worn with a pleated chiffon blouse and wide-leg pants, and he put a fresh spin on the leather look that's been all over, using textured alligator, often paired with fur.

Those in attendance included Kelly Osbourne and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.