Gilles Bensimon shot the images that reveal Martin Grant's latest collection. Apparently their friendship goes back many years; beyond that, the designer was intent to have a very particular purity of light that he knew the photographer could capture. For Grant, the whiteness felt imperative not just because it established an immediate contrast to the black, navy, gray, and fuchsia; to him, those sailor coats, cocktail dresses, and gala gowns represent a grouping of essentials that pare back his brand to what matters most.
If you sense an eighties feel to them, your era-radar is working well. Grant successfully resisted retrograde motion by emphasizing updated fabrications—or at least reissued ones, as was the case with a gold-flecked diamond brocade that was once produced by the esteemed Abraham Ltd. (the now-defunct Swiss fabric maker for Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Bill Blass). Grant applied plucked beaver fur as trim on an LBD, sourced smooth alpaca for coats, and used wool-angora for knits. In selecting a micro-quilted silk satin for an evening gown, the designer let you know he remains game for a surprise or two. One of the best pieces was a flawless bustier pantsuit, its legs echoing the wider sailor shape Grant offered in his daywear. Alas, the bodysuits that formed the foundation of his Spring collection were nowhere to be found. Grant said he considered a part two but concluded that a perfect pant and sweater would be this season's base. His approach made sense commercially, although it lacked sizzle. Thank goodness for that fuchsia body-con dress.