For a designer with no formal training, Maria Grachvogel has lasted a pretty long time in the industry—over 20 years. This longevity has a lot to do with her artistic side: Grachvogel hand-paints many of her prints, which turned out to be her strong suit in today's outing. The press notes for her Fall collection proclaimed it to be "pared down." If that meant the opening passage of solid-colored looks, one shade from head to toe, then yes, it was. The pieces were pretty, but in some cases, reminiscent of the work of other designers.
Less pared down, and better for it, were the prints—motifs meant to suggest falling leaves and, according to the designer, the ubiquity of death in nature. That chilling thought aside, a salt-and-pepper dégradé print on a woven jacquard trouser suit was a winner, and the haunting tree of life print on a billowing gown suggested the de Gournay panoramic wallpaper that adorns the best houses in the world.
Grachvogel is known for prints—those and her seamless, pocketless "Magic Pants"—and over the course of 20 years in business, she's nailed them. What's lacking is a design signature in cut and drape to match. Not that her celebrity clientele is complaining: Muse and friend Yasmin Le Bon sat in front row, as did the pop-ette Mollie King.