Nathan Jenden has an impressive résumé: educated at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art; work experience with John Galliano and Daryl K; creative director at Diane von Furstenberg. None of that, though, could have prepared him for February 10, 2006the day that Jenden's wife gave birth to a son on the morning of his solo debut. Happily, the designer seemed to take it all in stride. Fulfilling a long-held dream, he took a bold, confident first step, presenting a collection that was as hard-edged as the venuethe Inn at Irving Placewas precious.
Saying he was inspired by "the drama of a Goya silhouette," Jenden opened the show with a ruffled puff-sleeve shirt, stark white over black jodhpurs. He had the most success with his reworking of men's suiting, creating an attractively sharp, lean line; standouts were the jet-beaded jackets, and a tuxedo suit at the close. A reversible jacket and corset pants, while amazing close-up, had less impact on the runway. Evening found the designer veering from the minimal (a tight vest-skirt combo) to the theatricalbut his short infanta dress hit a high note, and the finale dress, with its ruffled sleeves, was satisfyingly graphic. Though it might have benefited from an edit, this was a well-made collection that shows Jenden has a strong voice of his own. Diane von Furstenberg, on hand to cheer her employee's efforts, is not the only one eager to see how he develops.