September 13, 2009 New York
The show opened with a bang. Eugenia Mandzhieva—in a liquid chocolate satin gown with print trim and a trailing sash—had us at hello. What followed was a collection that swung back and forth between romantic Gallicisms and more pragmatic American pieces. "I try to make beautiful and functional clothes that a woman can work and travel in," Théallet explained—and she delivered with apparently simple pieces, like shirtdresses and wrap dresses, that were exquisitely finished. Dressmaker details like smocking and pleating are what Théallet is known for, and they're what make you fall, coup de foudre, in love with a dress.
Théallet trod some familiar ground this season, however, and what stood out among the more evergreen silhouettes were the dressier pieces. Draped, haltered, and closed with lingerie buttons, some of them snaked around the body with a sari's embrace while others seemed to drip from it. Who but a Frenchwoman could have designed such seductions?