February 06, 2008
The mood was informed by Helmut Newton's Sleepless Nights, a now-classic tome of darkly erotic photographs published in 1978, while the construction took its lead from forties and fifties foundation garments. "They're structured and utilitarian at the same time," said designer Andreas Melbostad, who experimented with lace, tulle, and stretch "power mesh" to give the clothes elasticity and an engineered body consciousness. Spring at Phi had been quite masculine, but Fallsave for some sharp and narrow smoking coatswas very feminine. Which is probably why the extravagant shearlings looked massive, a bit out of place. But there was a fresh, feral, "I am woman, hear me roar" quality to the lingerie-inspired ensembles of bustiers, bras, and lace-banded leggings layered under soft, even frilly, shirtdresses. Some elements, like the tutu skirts, got a bit costumey, but for the most part, Melbostad delivered what he'd promised in the program notes: "the elegance of decadence."