Anne Valérie Hash has finally graduated from her obsession with ripping apart big men's suits and seeing how the pieces fall when reassembled on small young women. For fall, her collection was more about construction than deconstruction, as well as a Spanish theme that nicely melded with her interest in masculine/feminine contrasts. That translated into matadors and flamenco dancers, with a vaguely Victorian cast: bolero jackets, ultrahigh-waisted pants and knickers, tiered dusty lace skirts, and romantically tattered blouses.
Hash is moving toward a more saleable, less art-house proposition for herself. "I want to be less conceptual and more institutional," she joked. "And I wanted to show a stronger woman than last season." The designer's own strengths come out in her ability to cut a great pant and interesting, well-fitting jacket, as well as in knowing how to soften them with a vintage-look shredded blouse or traily petticoat here and there. What she's producing now shows the structural know-how she's accrued through all those years of excavating the seams and linings of traditional tailoring, and the hip, nonaggressive youthfulness of her appeal is drawing some significant supporters. Lou Doillon (who will appear in Hash's promotional campaign) sat front-row, with Theodora Richards and her boyfriend a few doors down.