In its first few years of existence, the Mother of Pearl
identity was essentially subsumed into that of the artists the brand collaborated with each season. At this point, the situation has reversed: Founder Maia Norman and designer Amy Powney have settled into a well-defined Mother of Pearl "look," and they've gotten savvier about finding artists whose work can elaborate the brand signatures rather than overwhelm them. This collection was a case in point. Richard Saja is a New York City-based artist best known for his needlepoint "interferences" with French toile de Jouy, and this season, Norman and Powney adapted his technique to relate to prints that riffed on the Arts and Crafts movement and William Morris. But Saja wasn't the focus of this collection; Morris was. The prints and embroideries here paid homage to the Morris aesthetic, and more generally, Powney and Norman seem to have been infected by Morris' affection for prettiness. There was a gentility to the silhouettes that felt new, and the sporty mien was tempered somewhat by romantic touches, like the gathering of a neckline or a bit of ruffle on a sleeve. The result was a collection with a lot of appeal.