February 28, 2005
"I don't work with themes," explained Martin Grant after his lovely intimate presentation in a grand, old Paris apartment. And thank goodness. For fall, this private dressmaker turned ready-to-wear designer delivered another round of simple, subtly elegant clothes that marked what he called an "evolution of the previous season." Once again, Grant focused on tailoring. He did smart felted pea coats and jackets in camel, cadet blue, and black, but they were often worn with liquid silk jersey skirts or pants (the former full and flirty, the latter straight-leg and slim), which softened the effect. Similarly, he paired a black bouclé wool jacket with tulip sleeves with a tiered peasant skirt. This sort of architectural, yet easy look is one of Grant's great strengths.
The other, of course, is his dresses, which came in panne velvet, tulle netting, and that liquid silk jersey. Grant is a master of the knee-length cocktail frock, the perfect LBD (this season with bracelet-length sleeves, a Peter Pan collar, and a full pleated skirt) that his clients turn to again and again. He doesn't normally traffic in show-stoppers, but there was one floor-grazing halter-neck gown, in iridescent lavender, that more than fit that description.