September 13, 2006
The Susan Dell-backed Phi line continues to evolve in a carefully measured way, with designer Andreas Melbostad honing in on a new, tightly defined area each season. Inspired by, among other things, the moody, misty photographs of Deborah Turbeville, Melbostad said goodbye to fall's tailored coats and strong shoulders in favor of multilayered ensembles (many had five elements) made of white, pink, and black silk and chiffon. One tank dress featured sequins embroidered on tulle in a Renaissance pattern, paired with a delicate bra and a flounced skirt. A white dress with flower appliqués was a crowd favorite, and finely knit Henleys worn over sheer culottes proved an interesting study in texture and opacity.
Phi is about consistency, not variety, but some of Melbostad's many variations on a few silhouettes shaded into the repetitive. They were, however, as meticulously made as ever, with a youthful appeal that might speak to the customer who liked fall's wispy, Biba-esque dresses.