October 07, 2006
For those who remember or have heard tell about the time when Stephen Burrows and fellow American designers blew into Paris for the monumental "Versailles 1973" show, his comeback tour came off as something of a letdown. The catacombs of the Louvre have nothing on Louis XVI's palace, of course, but the show's disappointments went beyond the location. The models, the hair and makeup, the shoesthey all could've used an upgrade. Sterling-silver belts and minaudières by Burrows' sponsor and old friend Elsa Peretti, in contrast, were more chic. The clothes themselves, though, didn't hold up in the Paris big leagues.
Burrows' lettuce-edged jersey dance dresses were the embodiment of his body-conscious Studio 54 heyday. For spring, he revisited those old favorites, color blocking their bodices with sunset hues or Caribbean island blues. But, like the chiffon animal-print mélanges, they didn't have the modern zing they did three decades ago. He should think twice before leaving his home turf again. Either that, or do the kind of homework it takes to make a mark here.