June 10, 2014 New York
Cédric Charlier is getting soft. The really exciting development from him this time out was an emphasis on sensuality and fluidity. Two pieces here really summed up the mood: a nigh-on weightless oversize trench in silk cloque and the tank-topped dress with a plissé skirt, which made a particularly strong impact in a short version in heather gray and blush. Looking at that dress, you'd guess that Charlier was taking inspiration from the ballet. As it happened, though, a trip to the Greek isles—someplace in the middle of nowhere, according to the designer—was what galvanized this collection. The heat, naturally, prompted the turn toward soft shapes and super-lightweight materials; the muse was also present, one felt, in the collection's much-used Aegean blue. And Charlier credited a traditional layered Greek pastry with inspiring his graphic prints and jacquards. Graphic stripe and color-blocking essentially stood in for the architectural silhouettes Charlier has focused on in previous outings, allowing him to continue to explore his interest in line and structure. There were also grace notes of sharpness here, such as knife pleats or the laser-cut hem on a strapless tangerine-colored dress. Overall, the play between hard and soft, between long lines and volume, and between weight and airiness, made this one of Charlier's most appealing collections.