Johnny Talbot and Adrian Runhof's experience designing ballet costumes for the Dortmund Opera House last summer clearly had a huge effect on them. Their Fall presentation was dance-inspired, from the tip of its ballerina topknots to the toe of its pointe slipper-influenced heels. Dress after dress exploded at the hem into tutus of tulle, and the finale featured a solo by Lisa-Maree Cullum, prima ballerina of the Bayerisches Staatsballett. Talbot name-checked Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Red Shoes" as direct inspiration, while heaping scorn on the classic Powell-Pressburger film of the same name. Both spin a dramatic story of destructive obsession, which is scarcely what you'd expect to see reflected in the controlled cocktailwear that is Talbot Runhof
's core business, but in fact a little more emotion would have been welcome in a tightly edited show that struck one note and stayed there.
Dark fabrics were draped and swagged for an effect that was anything but balletically airy, especially one floral print that looked like les fleurs du mal
. The less said about the red propylene "legwarmers" the better. What levity there was came from the froths of tulle. Two gowns at the end featured a technique called "aluminum steaming," which loaned an elusive metallic shimmer to a floating floral print. They could almost have been the most glamorous shower curtains you ever did see. Following Cullum's solo (in red pointe slippers), the designers took their bow in red kicks. Cute.