Rock festival film Monterey Pop might not seem the most obvious source of inspiration for a rich Fall collection. But for Chadwick Bell, the 1968 concert documentary held lessons about nascent freedom and self-discovery. "The moment you define yourself is the moment that others are going to take notice," said Bell during a studio visit before his show.
Ideas about "throwing away social constructs" lent themselves to Bell's latest collection in surprising ways. A uniformlike blazer in windowpane check flannel got a relaxed spin from dropped sleeves in neoprene jersey and from the coordinating flannel-fronted, neoprene-backed sweatpants shown with it. A vicuña cashmere coat with a slash of evergreen suede paneled onto the arms brought to mind DIY customization, in a totally luxurious way.
It wasn't completely perfect—the pleats and swamping scale of a white smock felt schoolgirlish, and the square pockets at the wrists of a gray flannel coat superfluous. But Bell's attention to detail made hits of the simplest pieces, such as the long, lean trousers with subtle fins running down the legs and the plum neoprene sweatshirt trimmed in navy wool jacquard. This was a modern, accomplished collection, right through the Lurex jacquard suit and strapless A-line velvet gown at the end. Bell's woman may be richer than your average sixties rock rebel, but who cares when she's this well turned out?