After Danish designer Camilla Stærk moved here from London last year, she found herself screening and rescreening some of her favorite Woody Allen films, in particular Manhattan and Stardust Memories. And from those classic celluloid New York stories, she extracted three distinct Spring muses: the sweetly virginal Mariel Hemingway; the tough, cerebral Meryl Streep; and the sexy but complex Charlotte Rampling. You could trace those sources through 21 looks, the emotional range of which went from the girlish innocence of a white shirtdress and Day-Glo shorts to the dark sophistication of an oversized tuxedo-jacket-cum-dress and a shiny black waxed-canvas trench. The real excitement of Stærk's show at Scandinavia House, though, wasn't in watching the character evolution but, rather, the designer's.
Stærk's subversively minimal vision comes more clearly into focus each season. It's a treat to recognize the designer's hallmarks: pale gray leather, unexpected vivid flashes of color, an elegantly attenuated racer back. Amid these there snaked a lighter, more casual thread, courtesy of colorful checked cottonsa reflection, perhaps, of the sportswear influence of her adopted home. Though Stærk admitted to a tough year (the result of setting up a small business in a new country), this collection proved the effort has been worth it.