“Resolutely feminine, intensely pretty, undeniably luxurious; this collection is not for the shrinking violet.” So forewarned the liner notes, for Spring 2013, Creative Director Gilles Mendel was inspired by photographs of the Kawachi Fuji garden in Japan. Botanical references serve as a prevalent inspiration for spring collections, but this adaptation of blooming archways was not only exquisitely translated by color and print, but also silhouette. There was a delicacy and etherealness to the light-as-air chiffon gowns; even the blended fur separates had an elegant hand to them. Although J.Mendel has a rich heritage as a furrier house which formed 130 years ago in St. Petersburg, the perennial red carpet favorite is only celebrating its tenth anniversary as a ready-to-wear designer. Color continues to make a strong statement through next spring with cypress, cornflower, viola, peony, tiger lily, and cantaloupe making a big impact throughout the collection’s 45 looks.
Save for a handful of pieces, the collection predominantly featured knee-grazing skirts, mid-calf cocktail frocks, and dramatic floor-sweeping gowns; those in pleated chiffon with organza flowers at the shoulder seemed tailor-made from international premieres through awards season. Soft pintucks and peplums felt delicately feminine, while plunging necklines and high slits revealed the collection’s sultrier side. Still this collection extended beyond evening wear to include impressionist-print (wisteria and iris) ensembles that would be lovely for day. The leather lace top and short pairing and the velvet and mink paneled jacket and hot pants felt modern and youthful, while never compromising the brand’s signature sophistication.
My favorite looks from the J.Mendel Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear Collection included: the water lily metallic silk jacquard a-line dress with self banding detail and open back; the water lily astrakhan two piece dress with open back trapeze top and pleated a-line skirt; a sandshell leather lace raglan sleeve coat, sandshell v-neck trapeze leather top, and sandshell leather lace short; the cypress and olive long haired and velvet mink jacket with leather panels, cypress chiffon blouse with stretch viscose yoke and stand collar, and cypress velvet mink hot pant; the wisteria printed and viola chiffon pleated gown with v-neck and organza floral garland at waist; and conflower leather lace v-neck dress with dropped waist and leather binding.
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