February 07, 2008
After seeing a photograph of the strikingly kohl-eyed abstract expressionist sculptor Louise Nevelson, Camilla Stærk was intrigued enough to immerse herself in the groundbreaking artist's work. "I can't believe I didn't know who she was. She's so up my alley," said the designer backstage. Indeed she is, and perhaps that's why Stærk's Fall collection, called Black Bride of the Moon, came together so beautifully, intertwining the twin darknesses of her own vaguely perverse, modern vision with Nevelson's angular and textural "assemblages." The artist's sculpture Spike was echoed in the straps of a leather pinafore, the belt on a harem jumpsuit, and a repetition print seen on a chiffon blouse and a body-hugging skirt. Stærk added texture to her scooped, layered tank dresses in black jersey, wrapping one with strips of thin black leather, cutting another in a smoky geometric lace, and even one in fringed black leather. She delved for the first time into knits, toughening everyday merino with leather, rubber, and metal yarns, and broke more new ground with eveningwear in lace and elegant coated silk. This was easily Stærk's most polished and coherent effort to date. It should help lift her from under the radar into the mainstream of young New York talents, where she belongs.