It's back to basics at J. Mendel, a line whose basics aren't, of course, very basic at all. They're luxe enough for pharaohs and queens, those accustomed to an excess so fabulously wretched they don't need another mink coat—they can afford one fully lined in mink, like several on offer here. "We were very focused on bringing back the essentials of J. Mendel," Gilles Mendel said at a showroom appointment. Meaning? "Unapologetic luxury."
Jackets, chubbies, and hooded scarves kept the fur flying, the finest pieces in gorgeously striated Russian red fox. But the most interesting new development for the line was a handful of shearlings, a new fabrication for the brand. Mendel's came in mixed furs, with shearling, lambswool, leather, and deerskin. Since the Fall '11 collections, the parka has roared back onto the scene, and those on offer here—many styled as sleeveless vests but available with leather sleeves for production—are worthy successors to the trend. They're also (though you could take this with a diamond-sized chunk of salt) closer to an entry-level price point than most outerwear he's yet attempted.
Where cocktail dressing is concerned, Mendel offered plays on his draped, corseted frocks—some elaborately beaded, in what he suggested would be a preview of Fall '12—and voluminous evening gowns a shade more solid in their silk faille than the delicate mousseline creations he showed last year at this time.