September 08, 2006
Victoria Bartlett's VPL began as a lingerie line, but the designer has been broadening her focus with every season. Spring saw her dive deeper into ready-to-wear, with a collection that was inspired by water, specifically the glaciers and waterfalls of Iceland. It followed that there were some overt nautical references: drawstring rope belts pulled through slightly bell-hemmed dresses; striped tops in a burst of orange. And bringing the point home was a splatter print. But the water theme was also worked organically through construction, via the use of round shapes, sequins with a raindrop gleam, and dresses with fabric cascading down the front, or a train that swished like a fishtail. Bartlett hasn't forgotten her line's origins, and spring featured a successful balance between innerwear and outerwear, as silky vintage tap pants were paired with sporty pieces like trapeze-back picot jackets. The collection remains difficult to categorize, but even without a clever finale featuring a parade of models under clear umbrellas, it's obvious that Bartlett isn't wet behind the ears.