February 08, 2006
It's hard to believe that fur specialist Gilles Mendel added ready-to-wear to his repertoire a mere two years ago; his evening gowns have already become popular red carpet garb for stars and socialites. The latter were out in force for what ended up being a safe fall show. It opened with tailored separates that were punctuated with hints of flash emanating from metallic tweeds and from rhinestone buttons on cuffs. Fur-wise, there was a burgundy broadtail coat with fox trim at its curved seams that echoed the bubble shapes seen elsewhere this season, and a white mink that was worked in an Art Deco motifall of which was nice, though not necessarily fresh. What did look new were the jaunty Persian lamb skullcaps, and a quirky brown-and-black leather jacquard coat. Perhaps wisely, the coat was one of the few direct references to the show's nominal theme: Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde.
Mendel's attempts to add fur to evening dresses seemed superfluous (why not just throw one of his coats over your shoulders?), and it resulted in a heavy-hemmed look that seemed anachronistic next to the wrap gowns in red and brown with sweet black bows at the shoulders, or the floaty tiered numbers with a hint of sparkle at the neckline. Mendel certainly knows how to romance a gown, but rather than rely too much on that one formula for success, he'd be wise to push his clothesespecially his fursforward.