Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig mined eighteenth-century romanticism for Fall—specifically, Francisco de Goya's Portrait of Maria Teresa de Vallabriga on Horseback. The aristocratic opulence associated with that era dovetailed with the Marchesa designers' maximalist tendencies. The first look out, a scarlet equestrian coat with a high collar and full skirt, set a dramatic tone for the lineup. The silk matador trousers it was paired with also suggested the show wasn't going to be all princess gowns, which the occasionwear label remains known for, particularly on the red-carpet circuit. On that note, the Academy Awards are just around the corner. While Chapman and Craig definitely kept that in mind, the duo explained that they don't pander to celebrity stylists while developing a new collection. "It's more of an afterthought. We'll look at everything when it's finished and say, 'Ooh, that could work,' " said Craig backstage. There's no doubt that several of these numbers will be Los Angeles-bound in the next few days. Starlet-worthy standouts included a strapless fishtail gown in a menswear-y striped silk (that could've done without the voluminous tulle underskirt) and a "deconstructed coat-dress" cut from fuchsia-colored duchesse satin, which had a definite wow factor.
Deconstruction and construction were recurring themes here, leading to both winning and not-so-winning moments. The former concept occasionally resulted in excessive draping that didn't always flatter, while some of the corsets incorporated throughout were strangely pointy and stood away from the body (nobody wants another public nip slip). In the end, it was some of the (relatively) simpler looks that had the biggest impact. An off-the-shoulder, curve-hugging cocktail number with allover floral embroidery hit all the right notes.