September 11, 2006
Julie Chaiken and Jeff Mahshie did not maintain the hyper-focus of fall's show, but instead wandered between three themes for spring: acid-colored silk satins, camping/safari suiting, and ombré. This didn't make for the most coherent outing, though there were strong separates here, and the long, flowy silhouette that they created with floor-sweeping skirts and full pants were a welcome sight among the week's overload of trapeze dresses (not that these were entirely missing at Chaiken). "We want to move away from the bubble, and are using elastic drop waists for spring," Mahshie explained. This lent a sporty feel, as did simple tank dresses and the final blouson jacket. Bold prints and silk satinsespecially in blinding chartreusestruck a jarring note, however. The designers fared better when they stuck to black and white and to outfits that they described as "easy, pretty, and Americanbut not in a flag-waving way." It's not hard to imagine the young Hollywood set taking a shine to Chaiken's coverall for shopping expeditions or a dark "tuxedo" short suit for a power lunch under the Cali sun.