It's pretty clear at this point that women planning to make exactly one
"key trend" purchase for Spring '13 ought to be on the lookout for a
crisp, chalky white shirt. Yes, there are other trends emerging this
season, but that white shirt is the one that counts, because it's so
symbolically perfect. And what it symbolizes is the scrubbing off of
several seasons' worth of explosive, dazzling digital print. Clean
slate. As Diana Vreeland put it, the eye has to travel. It also must rest.
There were no white shirts at this morning's Peter Pilotto show. Designers Christopher De Vos and Peter Pilotto are primary innovators of the digital-print juggernaut, and in their latest collection, they doubled down on their signature. This was an even richer visual feast than usual, as Pilotto and De Vos pushed their patterns into graphic new territory and combined them in collagelike ways. They also continued to evolve their prints three-dimensionally, engineering them onto textured fabrics and all manner of ruffles and flounces. But what was most compelling about this collection was the way Pilotto and De Vos built their patterns out through beadwork and embroidery. Skin-baring beaded bodices were sculpted from knots, and the collection's jaw-dropping, New Look-shaped dresses were patterned in allover bead embroidery. There was a hint of India in that work and much more than a hint in the collection's occasional mirrored embellishment. But Pilotto and De Vos made the reference fresh, in particular by incorporating sport elements like a super-dense mesh. Overall, this was a collection that sometimes fell prey to sensory overload, but the full-skirt embellished dresses were astonishingly luxe and undeniably stunning. Women who can't get excited about a white shirt will know where to turn next spring.