Russell Sage puts his collections together by reworking antique pieces to incorporate symbolic commentaries. This one started with a tableau of four models in short-sleeve cotton dresses with animal skins draped over them. (The show notes pointed out that the zebras and tigers on display had been shot in the 1880s and '90s.) These were followed by more dresses onto which oil paintings of John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Julien Macdonald had been sewn. Today's big-game trophies are fashion labelsgeddit?
Sage's quip didn't exactly rock the aisles, but his show had plenty of other treasures worth looking atall made from a haul of Victorian patchwork, hunting jackets, embroidered Chinese silk and vintage nightshirts. Underneath the asymmetrical complexities, the color and shape of the dressesoften done with intricate pleating and a romantic full-skirted silhouettewas beautiful. Standouts were the designer's neat, short evening jackets, especially one in antique damask with a black organza ruffle bursting from a lapel. It's a compliment to Sage that, despite the heritage fabrics, this looks like a believable modern collection rather than a costume show.