"Jill Stuart is a rock star in Japan," exclaimed vintage dealer Mark Walsh after the show. It's easy to see why; backstage, Stuart said that she was focused on "innocence and sensuality," qualities that play big in the East. Although the Asian presence was larger than ever at this girly, frilly show, the collection may play well at home this time, too.
The opening look on Ekaterina, a diaphanous white baby-doll dress with lace trimmings, set the mood for the lingerie-inspired looks that followed. A pale palette was dappled with tea-stained tulle blouses, with rosettes and lace insets, matched with slim skirts. Yellow, peach, and pale-pink dresses mingled among the designer's self-designed floral chiffon prints. All were adorned with corsages and pinwheels of ribbon work and asymmetric hems. The white, crochet-front bathing suits with shirred backs had a forties fabulousness, and the petal dresses just before the finale were simply charming.
This season, Stuart's obsession with vintage and artisanal techniques proved to be a winning combination, since it meshed well with spring's emphasis on decorative handicrafts. Despite some misses, Stuart's overall idiosyncratic aesthetic fit into the bigger picture. All of that intricate, hand-done ribbon work, Irish crochet, rosettes, and corsages added up to a collection that was refreshingly consistent and will boost her fan base on both sides of the Pacific.