February 03, 2008
"Joan of Arca sophisticated revolutionary," said Jill Stuart backstage, explaining her choice of Fall muse. "She's very intellectual, very audacious." Sounds like a serious lass to us. But in the hands of Stuart, whose stock-in-trade is still a particularly sweet brand of girlishness, the situation wasn't quite so severe. Instead, the designer veered from the slink of a navy jersey dress toughened up with a military touch of braid trim on the shoulder to the more buttoned-up chic of a schoolgirl blazer with an insignia. There was also the straight prettiness of a strapless party dress, and the cool, masculine/feminine look of a lean velvet waistcoat. For accessories, Stuart gave her freedom fighter chain-mail jewelry, wide leather belts, and floppy gauntlet gloves. Like others who've shown this week, the designer was clearly fascinated by rich texturesvelvet, sequins, matelassé, boucléand they added glimmer to the somber palette of black and navy. Though she could have made her point in fewer iterations, there was certainly something here for every Stuart fan.