"Is it the girl, or is it the gown?" Cole Porter once asked. Roland Mouret, who was listening to the famously witty lyricist as he prepared his collection, had a firm answer: It's both. Willowy models were transformed into statuesque, soigné characters, with gowns molded to their bodies and side-swept chignons, every bit as chic as the cast of The Women, another of the designer's touchstones.
In this collection, presented at Skylight Studios, Mouret took up where he left off last season, toying with elongated hourglass shapes. Carmen Kass opened the show in an ivory suit with three-quarter sleeves and a dramatic, somewhat clerical collar. Silky skirts had fishtails, and one that was paired with a halter top was a selvage-to-selvage wrap. As much as Mouret's tailoring savvy was on display, the no-sew approach that launched his career was evident. Dresses were draped so ingeniously, through a system of tucks and small seams, they seemed to be effortlessly anchored to the body. Patterns that revealed a patch of skinon a shoulder or the backadded unexpected sizzle to Mouret's slightly retro styling. Full trousers in charcoal checks and plaids with hefty cuffs stood out among the skirts and gowns, and created the illusion of endless legs. The green tops worn with them were a little jarring, but overall, Mouret's vivid palette was outstanding. The finale was a Pop Art blur of green, teal, orange, yellow, and pink. And Vlada closed the show in a red-and-pink color-blocked gown that would have made Mr. Porter think twice before he answered that question.