February 07, 2007 New York
"This collection is not about colors, but textures," Mendel said. And so, restricting his palette to ivory, slate, and "blacks of many shades," he focused on a silhouette he described as "post-war." Mendel isn't known for day looks, but he did some very viable, unapologeticallly dressy office options, like suits (pant and skirt) with fitted jackets and a tweed sheath that hit above the knee. His clients go to him mainly, though, for photo-op looks. He delivered these in spades. Glamour gowns featured interesting contrasts. A wrap number, for example, had pleated chiffon on one side and silk satin on the other. The finale piecebackless, cap-sleeved black velvet with patent trimwas long on glamour and begging to be worn by a modern-day Madame X.
The minks and chinchillas were also very glam (quite naturally, from a firm that once was exclusively a furrier). Kim Noorda looked every inch the snow princess in a white lamb coat with a halo of a fox hood. And there was a very J. Mendel take on the coat-with-contrasting-sleeves trend: It came cinched at the waist, with two kinds of black fur on the body and full, silvery Old Hollywood sleeves.