"I used to have a curiosity cabinet when I was a kid, and the whole idea here was taking different elements and braiding them together into one thing," said designer Georgina Chapman backstage before Marchesa's Spring show. "There's no corsetry and it's much more relaxed." While "relaxed" is a relative term for the label beloved for its over-the-top eveningwear, there was indeed a new ease about the latest lineup, which combined floral embroideries and Chantilly laces with romantic, lingerie-inspired silhouettes. A pale-blue bias-cut satin slipdress with a body-skimming tulle overlay nicely exemplified the softer approach Chapman and partner Keren Craig took to the season, as did sheer, slightly bohemian tiered skirts sprayed with crystals and feathers paired with delicate bralet tops and tap shorts. It was easy to imagine in-demand starlets turning up on red carpets (the Emmys are just around the corner, after all) in some of those sweeter—almost innocent—looks that still showed flashes of skin.
There was a definite eclecticism about the new collection, which was underscored by the custom tattoos Scott Campbell painted on the models for the occasion. Draped fringe skirts were shown with embellished "T-shirts" (true to form, Marchesa's take on the basic was anything but), and a memorable gown was painstakingly decorated with heavy swags of hand-strung pearls that audibly shook with each step down the runway. Other standouts here included a vampy black Empire-waist number wrapped with ribbons around the bust, as well as a metallic gold cocktail dress featuring intricate floral threadwork that felt fanciful but not fussy.