February 10, 2004 New York
Mendel drew his inspiration from Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s sensually beautiful, irresistible heroine. And there were certainly clothes fit for a czarina: figure-hugging silk dresses in pale colors, trimmed with dangling knotted cords; soft crinkly chiffon skirts that swirled around the knees; and tulle skirts that burst in pleats, all decked with plenty of Cartier diamonds. Mendel worked fur throughout, cutting flawlessly constructed lightweight coats and jackets from sheared mink and broadtail and putting fluffy fox shrugs over satin gowns. He even made a dramatic black dress from feathers and strips of mink; it was old-world luxe with a hip new attitude.