Three seasons into his tenure at Phi, designer Andreas Melbostad had developed a reputation as a bit of a goth. He had a penchant for black, structural minimalism, and last season, punky winkle pickers. This spring, he shed his darker side with an explosion of color, inspired by a red-and-fuchsia Warhol self-portrait. This bold breakthrough was a pleasant surprise that placed Phi in line with the prevailing trends of the week, and shed new light on Melbostad's strengths.
The balance between hard and soft is of recurring interest to the designer, and this season, the scales tipped toward a gentler, bow-tied femininity. The collection was a study of neat bodice-defining dresses with variations on decoration (sixties-inspired floral prints and embroideries), fabrics (tuxedo wool, stretch twill, Swiss cotton organdy), and construction techniques (pleats and tiers for fullness). Wide, hard patent leather belts introduced some tough love into the collection. The contrast between Melbostad's youthful dresses and strong-shoulder jackets that featured curved back seams (a Melbostad signature in the making) was grown-up and sophisticated. Abbreviated leather motorcycle jackets, despite their intriguing color piping and "rip trim," worked better in theory than in practice.
Slim pants added to the collection's body-conscious neatness, and tailored separates with luscious bows had exaggerated proportions. Box-pleated skirts and skorts were blooming, as was a floral print designed in-house. A scoop-neck balloon jacket, puff shorts, and a bow-front halter worn by Hana Soukupova were the antithesis of goth, and designed to be noticed in a very different, fabulous kind of way.