February 17, 2012
A folk-y Slavic thing seems to be a micro-trend. Alice Temperley steered her particular bohemian leanings in an opulent direction for a look she called "polished folk." The first look out nicely illuminated that description. It had a bright floral embroidery in neat panels on ivory dotted tulle, and its long and lean shape—with sheer long sleeves that somehow still evoke the royal wedding—gave way to a bit of fluid swish at the hem. With fur hats on nearly every look, it made you think of a parade of young czarinas. (There was also a touch of Cossack warrior in a lean double-breasted officer's coat and another high-shouldered one in navy satin with proud gold buttons.) Lose the hat, however, and a lace-paneled blouse and bronze jacquard skirt cinched with a jeweled ribbon belt were pure modern-day oligarch-ette.
But even that girl's viewpoint has changed considerably in the past decade, which made some of Temperley's intended decadence (crystal beading, lace, velvet, loads of costume jewelry) feel weighty. There was a drag to looks like a long shearling jacket and matching pencil skirt, or a navy satin gown with chunky jeweled straps crisscrossing its open back. Perhaps the problem wasn't the excess itself, but the fact that it was a vision less than exquisitely drawn. After a couple of strong and very polished seasons chez Temperley, we've come to expect more.