Designer Stacey Bendet's latest collection for Alice + Olivia
was inspired by the American dream. "You know, that late-1950s optimism," she said in a preview at her Meatpacking District studio. It started with a color palette drawn from the work of artist Ilya Bolotowsky, who cleverly mixed the decade's primary hues with unexpected pastels. For Spring, Bendet took that idea and ran with it. Pale blue chambray-denim pants were paired with a cobalt sequin tank and striped jacket. A Kelly green swing skirt and T-shirt were topped with a red and white Pop-art cardigan sweater that had lips and a heavily mascara-ed eye on it. "There is a little humor in everything," Bendet said. What's funny is how many people flocked to the model who was dressed in white gauchos and a rhinestone-encrusted bustier with a leather jacket thrown over her shoulder. That was the best look, but the handbags, which are a new venture for Spring, were also hard to forget. The Lucite clutches filled with candy were particularly sweet
. But overall, the range seemed to lack a cohesive point of view. Yet Bendet spoke to that. "As a designer today, part of my job is to pick a trend and to design the clothes," she said. "But I also need to create a way for my customers to be individuals." With a Meatpacking District store opening next month and other outposts on the West Coast and abroad, Bendet must be doing something right.