The cat¿s out of the bag. Elisabeta and Nicolae Petrescuthe fashion week arrivistes who, along with their pet tabby, Leo, captivated New York's showgoersaren¿t the Romanian artistocrats they've been pretending to be. Rather, they¿re a pair of aspiring actors, plus a professional feline, hired by Trovata¿s sole remaining member, John Whitledge, to model his new collection. They took an hour out of their busy appearance schedule on Wednesday to pose for Style.com¿s photographer.
Here¿s where it gets tricky. Whitledge¿s fall wares, like all of Trovata¿s previous collections, have a backstory, and it revolves not around twenty-first-century Eastern European sibling socialites, but a pair of New York City school teachers, Bridget Ann Davis and E.S. Barrington, circa 1981. The clothes, it follows, have a retro look ¿straight out of yearbooks from the early eighties.¿ Think shirtwaist dresses in colorful prints; stripey turtlenecks and full, dirndl skirts; chunky cable-knit sweaters; and wide-wale corduroys. But for their finer materials and signature charming linings, they wouldn¿t look out of place at Abercrombie & Fitch, where Whitledge once interned in the design studio. Can a collection like this sustain the interest and good will of New York¿s stretched-thin fashion community? Sure. But in order to keep elevating his basics, Whitledge will have to bring the same level of invention to his clothes as he does to schemes like the Petrescus.