A blast of Tchaikovsky cued a Russian theme for Vanessa Bruno
's new collection. The Ballets Russes has been in the wind because of the exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, but Bruno went for a more Soviet take on her theme. The peasant jacket, the cotton skirt, and the head scarf of the opening look were so much more salt of the earth than Sergei Diaghilev's troupe of terpsichorean aesthetes. But that didn't mean Bruno missed the romance of Mother Russia. If her take on the subject was less glamorous than Sergei's, she still captured the utilitarian but sweet spirit of Doctor Zhivago's beloved Lara. The smock tops layered over skirts with embroidered hems, the white cotton tablecloth dress with broderie anglaise, the Bolshevik officer's coat in brown
all felt like functional pieces with a convincing backstory. And Bruno's clothes are
very convincing for her friends. She clearly has an ardent local following, who may find the romance in a slipdress sprinkled with crystals, or the slouchy sexiness of a paper-bag-waist skirt paired with a voluminous poet's shirt-jacket, or even the checked smock wrapped in a soft suede kimono jacket.