There's no point going to a J. Mendel
show if you're queasy about fur. Gilles Mendel comes from a family of furriers, going back generations, and he really knows his way around the material. Even a person who chooses not to wear fur can appreciate his artistry. In the good-looking collection he showed today, he really outdid himself with his laser-cut minks, in particular the trim black coat sliced in a pattern so subtle, it had to be touched to be believed. Luxe, luxe, luxe. So too the quilted, zip-off motorcycle coat trimmed in mink, and the rust tweed biker jacket with a peplum of chevron-cut raccoon. There was a recurring biker theme here, which Mendel cannily translated for his super-upscale clientele. Elsewhere, the most interesting development was in Mendel's construction—he reiterated a draped dress silhouette, which he'd tapered at an angle via spiraling seams. A knee-length version of the dress in moss-colored velvet was a knockout; there was also a chorus of slinky gowns that featured the technique. Evening is an important category for Mendel, and this season he tended to err on the side of clean and sleek; meanwhile, he didn't seem entirely committed to the more decorated looks. A clutch of floral cloque organza dresses trimmed in black were very pretty, though. Overall, there was a nice sense of dressed-up toughness here, and an emphasis on the practical that Mendel's clients will surely appreciate.