There was more than a whiff of Anglomania at Phi today, where one of Andreas Melbostad's points of departure was the work of British designer Ossie Clark. Melbostad began to take an interest in Clark while researching the prints that found their way into last spring's Phi collection. But the English influence goes beyond the sort of decorative devices Ossie favored; it's visible in Melbostad's construction techniques and in the only-for-the-bold, Biba-esque palette of purple and black.
Despite the influences, the show didn¿t feel referential or vintagey. The designer tweaked spring's flare dress silhouette with mostly engaging additions like cossack collars, keyhole necklines, and peaked shoulders. He also showed some terrific workmanship, especially when he pieced garments together in Deco patterns. A black Deco-print skirt, for example, was constructed in part with zigzag-shaped swatches of the same printed fabricbut in whiteradiating from hips to hem.
Coats and jackets are Melbostad's strength, and this season they are bold, with peaked shoulders and dramatic collars. Sometimes they were worn with high-waist, flowing flared pants, which possessed a distinct Euro sex appeal. His boots aimed for same, but fell a little short. It hardly mattered, though, because all eyes were on the quality and construction of the clothes. This collection marked another step in the slow but sure-footed evolution of Melbostad's vision.