"He's just great. His clothes are exquisite," raved Lee Radziwill, one of Martin Grant's more high-profile fans, who arrived at the designer's show (held in a cloistered courtyard) wearing one of his tomato suede jackets. It wasn't hard to see why the Australian designer holds such appeal for the likes of Radziwill; his collection was the epitome of chic. And though it might be ready-to-wear, every pieceevery stitch, evenshowed a zeal for the craft of couture. From the first anthracite satin minitrench to the knife-pleated Lurex skirts worn with backless chiffon halters or narrow crepe jackets with pushed up sleeves, Grant's clothes were impeccable. Yes, they're Park Avenue grandperfect for those polite ladies who never have a hair or hemline out of place. That's not to say they won't appeal to younger high-maintenance types too. It might be old-school technique, but the effect was dynamic and contemporary, without any need for gimmicks or fuss.
Backstage, the designer said the collection was inspired by his grandmother, who taught him to sew. "Her thing was the shirtdress," he said. "She always wore them." His versions served as the bedrock of his collection, cut narrow, never tight, in long and mini proportions. But graceful glamour ended the show in the form of a strapless gown in wavy chiffon ruffles. If ever a Hollywood star needed some red carpet fashion credibility, she could do well to start here.