Gilles Mendel has prima ballerinas on the brain. Earlier this summer, he designed the costumes for the New York City Ballet's production of Call Me Ben; then he shot his Resort lookbook in the dance studio; and now his Spring collection finds him back at the barre.
Presumably, you won't hear any complaints from this designer about the tents' new location in Lincoln Center, the NYCB's home stage. Mendel's corps were dressed in Madame Grès-inspired draped silk chiffon and jersey dresses in powdery, neutral makeup tones of peach, blush pink, and icy gray. (To make the palette pop, they were shown with a bright coral lip and brilliant orange wedges—Louboutins wrapped with grosgrain ankle wraps, ballet-slipper style.) The dresses were all variations on a theme, but thanks to the exquisite hand-pleating and ruching, Mendel's uptown ladies shouldn't mind. No complaints, either, about those Mendel furs, here Tibetan lamb and shadow fox in heart-shaped dégradé boleros; they're mounted on tulle to make them semitransparent and featherlight. ("A new little summer sweater," according to Mendel.) The look overall was lighter, simpler than it's been before; "a little bit more easy," the designer acknowledged after the show. And there was a smart concession to downtown, too, in eveningwear, of all places: ankle-length pleated mousseline gowns shown with flat sandals, the way kids are wearing long these days.
Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear
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