"Arty" is a label that has stuck to Tess Giberson since her 2000 debut, and it's easy to see why. Not only does she hand sew part of each garment she makes, but her personal history (rural upbringing as the daughter of artists, training at RISD, marriage to a painter) is pretty crunchy-bohemian, too. For fall, however, Giberson presented a collection that was as sophisticated as it was artful.
The soft-spoken Giberson decided to live quite large this season, in more ways than one; the designer is pregnant, and she chose to explore the theme of "magnification." That meant homing in on a single element of each of her 26 looks and enlarging it"without losing sight," she said, "of the overall proportions." The results? A herringbone jacket with a top-stitched pocket that extended all the way around the side. A navy blazer with one giant button front-and-center. Blouses with huge cuffs finished with oversize braided cuff links. Enormous pleats on baggy trousers. Even the hair and makeup artists had fun with the idea: Models had Rapunzel-length ponytails or double braids extending down their backs, and half had exaggerated eyebrows while the others wore extended under-lashes. The designer redid the classic trench with eye-catching epaulets, and her silk dresses, many with raised waistlines and some accessorized by jewelry from Ninh Wysocan, were pretty with a capital P. "Refined" is the word that Giberson chose to describe her collection, and it's an apt one. Arty seems so "last season."