February 14, 2008
After building a following on her caftans, it was inevitable that Allegra Hicks would want to challenge herself more as a designer. There's a whole world of structure out there to explore. Hence, tailored items like the lamé pinstripe suit and the brocade cocktail dress in this collection. The tailoring lacked the necessary precision, however. Hicks fared better when she kept things simple, wrapped, and drapedshe claimed as inspiration the dress worn by Ballets Russes dancer Olga Khokhlova in Picasso's 1917 portrait. One silk-jersey wrap dress, called Fifty-Four, was also surely a tip of the cap to erstwhile disco queen Diane von Furstenberg.
That was a reminder that Hicks herself is the linchpin of a glamorous set. Presumably, it was her friends she had in mind when she came up with a collection that slotted so completely into the category once called After Five. If that sounds a little, um, square in our own era, then there was also something a little square about these clothes. A velvet opera coat with fox-trimmed sleeves or a coat of silver leather ribbed with fur (and worn with tweed lamé trousers) offered the Hicksettes a kind of antique glamour curiously at odds with what one imagines to be their lifestyles.