Victoria Bartlett likes to center her shows around a theme. Last season, the stylist-turned-designer (recently nominated for a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award) created a cast of suffragettes and other feminist heroes. This time, her collection's title was Shape Shifting Dance, and she dropped the names Martha Graham and Vaslav Nijinsky as visual references. She practiced a few new moves with the introduction of a "younger, active" line, VPL II, which was styled into the show, along with lingerie.
As it happens, activewear is one of this week's emerging trends, and it's something that has consistently been part of Bartlett's design vocabulary. She worked it to her advantage in some of the stonger pieces from the main collection todaybandage swimsuits and color-block leggings reminiscent of the lounge-y body garments dancers in the corps de ballet wear in rehearsal.
Overall, though, the effort felt cluttered. Minimalism is not Bartlett's thing, but today there was a definite surfeit of layers and accessories. The addition of distracting sculptural showpieces, like the sets of shoulder extenders that looked like nothing so much as football gear, was a misstep.