Veronique Branquinho designs clothes with her fellow women in mind, appealing to a feminine sense of what’s pretty and what works. The result is a refreshing lack of flashy, over-the-top sexiness, a chic, bookish, often delicious decorum holding sway instead. This season was no exception, as Branquinho delivered on all her signature looks: leggings worn with knee-high boots, V-neck cocktail slips, tweedy knee-length skirts, woven crisscross straps and a mostly muted palette.
She opened the show with a grouping of smartest-girl-at-the-party black dresses, slim pants and inventive overcoatsone with long, loose, knee-skimming sleeves and another that incorporated a structured capelet that hit at the elbow. Things soon lightened up with subtly twinkling rose-petal dresses, which, Branquinho said later, were inspired by her recent fascination with ice-dancing competitions. They then loosened up via chunky toggle-closure cardigans and knee-length pleated kilts that recalled the Love Storyera Ali MacGraw. Highly covetable windowpane-plaid shirtdresses had an equally 70s collegiate feel; they conjured visions of a longhaired grad student throwing on one of her boyfriend’s well-worn button-downs and cinching it with a folksy leather belt before heading off to her advanced existentialism seminar.
What distinguished this collection from Branquinho past, however, was the higher level of elegance. There was a new sparklein the black dresses embroidered with silver thread, in the shimmering Lurex ballerina sweaters and in the thin jersey tops painted with gleaming platinum flames. It was as if the intellectual Belgian had taken a well-deserved break from her studies to hit the discoor, at least, the skating rink.