June 29, 2008
After seven years as a designer, Anne Valérie Hash feels she's "turned a corner with couture." With a few real clients to dress (young Saudi Arabian customers), she's aiming to make her collection "more strict and wearable, with a balance between structure and femininity." This season, she took a botanical tack, basing her shapes on the scroll-like forms of orchids. Like all research, it worked best when not taken too earnestly. A fitted, white, stiff silk sheath dress with sculptural rolled-back lapels came out as the best among her structured looks; others were marred by a curious frontal pouch that took the ecological reference a step too far. Luckily, though, Hash is also quietly cultivating another talent more likely to attract young women on the lookout for pretty party clothes. Her fairylike, micro-paneled lace dresses and skirts in cloudy gray, ivory, or pale pink have an uncontrived appeal that, though not new, is bound to be the easiest sell in this collection.