A beautiful metamorphosis has taken place at Anne Valérie Hash. Something feminine and romantic, yet very contemporary, has finally broken out of the carapace of deconstructed mannish tailoring she's been spinning her collections around for years.
What she's showing now are loose and drifty pieces that might have started life as ballet tutus, Victorian nighties, or Directoire negligees, mixed up with shrugged-on blousons, hopsack tailcoats, and little boleros. Pinstripe wools and men's shirting have been replaced by fragile tulles, floppy silks, washed leathers, and frayed-edge damasks in a palette of putty, face-powder pink, and watery green.
But it's not a total about-face. It's the completion of a gradual transformation that began three seasons ago, when Hash started placing romantic fragments between the torn-apart seams of her suitings. A young woman designing for young women, she has a gift for layering, bunching, and tying things on with ribbon belts and drawstrings that gives her clothes a casual cool. In her own way, she's emerging as the French parallel of the girl-friendly point of view that Phoebe Philo is famous for at Chloé.