"Do you have anything long?" That was the question Stacey Bendet kept hearing from friends on the hunt for a special-occasion dress, so she decided to take Alice + Olivia's popular party frocks and give them the gown treatment. A full collection followed, officially launching for Fall, but only a handful of the floor-length dresses were on view at her presentation. That doesn't mean the collection was low on drama. The characters invoked by the rest of the clothes ran the gamut from Lolita to David Bowie, which is exactly the kind of range the retail-minded Bendet is striving for.
Bowie, you say? Yes, the Thin White Duke showed up once in a louche emerald green and black striped velvet pantsuit and again in a pageboy cap and pair of burnished platinum cargo pants. Those may sound like eye-catching outfits, but the effusive mood of an Alice + Olivia presentation means that even the most extraordinary of combinations are just part of the colorful melee. It would have been nice to see the new gowns on their own. A green and black strapless number with a kicky peplum looked like it had taken time and skill to make, but it got lost amid the canned looks for day. There's something undeniably fun about the kooky world Bendet has cooked up for her customer, but this season it felt like there were fewer pieces of substance to sink your teeth into.