February 17, 2012
Marching in step with a couple of today's other shows that also plumbed the rich detail found east of Germany, Daniella Issa Helayel's show notes spoke of a Trans-Siberian journey from Moscow to Beijing. She began on a promising note, hitting the head-to-toe print trend—a touch on the late side, but it's still going—in dresses layered over coordinating leggings. Some models also had printed scarves tied around their heads like modern matryoshkas. And when you added in sturdy navy ribbed knits and tall brown leather harness boots, it all had a horsey-chic snap to it. But back to the journey: This is an itinerary that's ripe for cliché and for confusion. For instance, Chinese model Liu Wen wore a swirly paisley-printed dress with kimono sleeves and a fur hat—a look that was telegraphing a mishmash of messages. And dresses with little caps of fur trim on the sleeves worn with the odd addition of velvet leggings seemed to take the idea of Siberian eveningwear a bit literally. That said, the model in the sheer black tulle flapper dress with only a handful of gold sequins for propriety certainly could have used a pair. In the midst of this theme turned slightly awry, a single unadorned princess coat looked out of place. You'd have to literally live on Mars to miss the way it evoked thoughts of Helayel's most famed client, Kate Middleton. Purpose served.