As attendees of the B. Michael America Fall/Winter 2015 show filed into the Celeste Bartos Forum of The New York Public Library, they entered into what appeared to be a gazebo with pink and purple lighting. Dance club hits played in the background as guests took to their seats around the circular runway. The contrasting ambiances were the first of many juxtapositions that would embody the aesthetic of this collection.
Ultra feminine looks, consisting of several structured separates and accessorized with elbow length gloves appeared throughout this collection. Retro fabrics such as lacquered woven yarns, chenille, and wool yarn brocades, were modernized by the form fitting silhouettes and bold colors.
Many of these styles and fabrics would be found on the average 60s housewife, i.e. Betty Draper from Mad Men, but the bolder hues demanded attention. The looks were designed to be worn with the confidence that the modern woman exemplifies. It was as if Betty Draper and Scandal’s Olivia Pope got together and collaborated on a brilliantly strong, feminine collection.
One standout piece was the Shawl Collar Jacket in pearl pinstripe. This jacket, a staple for many women, was updated with length and glistening gold and creme fabric.
Workwear was presented intermediately with gorgeous gowns. The textile of choice was silk brocade, resembling a carpet bag yet appeared surprisingly chic. While the crystal and ruby hues were a hit, the turquoise and jade colors were a definite miss when paired together. The gown that stole the show was the Strapless 24 Gore Ball Gown in onyx with ruby. At first glance, the dress appeared an elegant black. But after a closer look one could see the subtle ruby bodice strategically exposed underneath the gown.
The menswear looks of the collection were few and far between. Also, they would not realistically be worn by the type of men who modeled them. The suit jackets were outdated eye sores and when paired with matching pants, a nightmare. It was obvious the menswear looks were meant to accompany some of the gowns, yet they were matched too well and resulted in appearing tacky.
Overall, the B. Michael America show embraced contradictions with stylishly flying colors. The retro styles were brilliantly reinvented for the contemporary era and were beautifully crafted.
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