January 31, 2008
Nicole Miller found her Fall inspiration in the bravery and power of Joan of Arc. Other designers have made a muse of the teenage warrior in the recent past, and we've seen all sorts of interpretations of modern-day armor. But, filtered through Miller's signature prints and familiar dresses, the concept had a softness that seemed new. The show opened with a pleated silver lamé minidress over a black silk blouse, and along the way crossed off other Joan signifiers like chain mail and fleur-de-lis (both came as vivid prints); tunic dresses (color-blocked, they were the smartest and simplest looks in the collection); and relaxed blouson tops worn with leggings. Stirrup pants with horizontal stripes across the thighs seem like a stretch for the Nicole Miller client. Smartly, the designer abandoned the theme when it came to evening. A little black cocktail dress with ruffles trimming a squared-off neckline was unapologetically girly. Similarly, Miller knows that her celebrity clientsNatasha Henstridge, Cheryl Hines, and Melissa George sat side by side in the front rowshy away from gimmicks. So the trickiest thing about her red-carpet gowns was their surprising, but rather elegant, draping and asymmetry.