The Vadim wives who inspired last season's show were nowhere to be seen at Bill Blass today, but socialites young and old were on hand to watch Michael Vollbracht "channel," as he says, the spirit of the label's namesake. Vollbracht and Blass must have had a long conversation, because there were a lot of clothes (55 looks) on the runway. There were (way too literal) Tippi Hedren-style suits with ungainly belts, numerous coats (many in double-faced cashmere or shearling), a series of LBDs and, of course, event-friendly evening gowns (the best a red chiffon halter dress). Unfortunately most of the looks were shown with nude stockings, which, as one attendee was heard remarking, "instantly add 20 years."
Vollbracht closed the show with a very pretty bridal gown, an old-fashioned gesture that referenced a once-common tradition. Perhaps he should revive another, and show in a gilt-chaired salon setting instead of the circus atmosphere of the tents. It might do service to the clothes, better showing the fabrics and the craftsmanship that go into making, say, the hand-woven Lesage-beaded ivory gown Inguna Butane wore. Sometimes such things get lost in the fast-paced atmosphere of Bryant Park.