Alice + Olivia
designer Stacey Bendet is not afraid of giving her customer what she wants. And what her customer wants, pretty much, is to look cute. A touch sexy? Yeah. A little magpie hip? Sure. But mainly, cute's the thing with this brand. And Bendet speaks the language of cute very, very fluently. This season, she cute-ified Carnaby Street mod, an inspiration that already errs on the side of the twee; to Bendet's credit, she worked the theme with a surprising amount of sophistication, and even edge. In large part, that was thanks to her trousers, which were a focus this time out. Bendet turned out several winning pairs, notably the slouchy leather pants, a pair of fitted waders, and best of all, her sequined palazzos, a really chic option for evening.
Elsewhere, the story was the collection's fabrics. Bendet cited the graphic suiting stripes as her original inspiration for the season, and augmented the menswear theme with schoolboy tartan, now a certifiably unstoppable trend. She also developed some very cool bouclés, including a black and white bouclé tweed with tinsel woven through, and she used those more soigné materials in sharp items such as adapted motorcycle jackets. Overall, despite the inclusion of too much uninteresting lace, this collection felt thought out and coherent in a way Alicia + Olivia collections sometimes don't.