Michelle Ochs is half Filipino, and since that makes her label one-quarter Filipino (as she joked a few days before the show), Ochs and design partner Carly Cushnie decided to look to the islands as a starting point for Spring. Needless to say, Ochs' mom was pretty pleased; to ensure the designers had plenty of source material, she dug up and sent over traditional clothes and family heirlooms for her daughter and Cushnie to work from.
In addition to mining traditional Filipino dress, the designers were also interested in evoking an island vibe. This led to their first foray into swimwear, and a splash of aqua in an otherwise black and white palette. The pair's strong graphic sensibility and love of framing the body's angles and curves make swim a natural extension for the brand; there's not much to go on yet—the two bikinis on the runway could best be described as tiny and tinier—but there's retail potential there.
Outside of the pool, the interpretation of Filipino fashion staples generated the best results. A sheer, sleeveless silk chiffon blouse with floral embroidery was reminiscent of a man's formal dress shirt; paired with a sheer-paneled pencil skirt it looked light, feminine, and totally fresh. Later, a screen-printed lotus blossom on a curve-hugging dress in black sateen gave the sexy silhouette some welcome depth; ditto the embroidery on a sleek white shift that was copied from the detailing on Mrs. Ochs' wedding gown. Embroidery and surface embellishment are not usually part of this label's lexicon, and it was nice to see the designers exploring new territory. If a few of the other dresses were too reminiscent of Fall's formfitting, scalpel-cut-out collection, at least front-row guest Kate Bosworth—in a second-skin scuba knit—will be sure to find something she likes.