#SuzyNYFW: Marchesa Looks To The Far East
Think of Marchesa and a grand slam of gowns comes to mind. The design duo of Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are rooted in a Hollywood vision – both the red carpet events and the way their shows seem to require a theme.
But the brand has become increasingly sophisticated as the designers have deflated ball gowns to a manageable width and have concentrated on delicacy of decoration, often inspired by the east rather than the west.
The first quarter of the show was in black and white led by a pair of trouser suits in those plain and precise colours. But the collection soon moved into decoration with pearl necklaces taking over front bodices, while the silhouettes of gowns were divided into full-skirted layered dresses or slim-line drapes.
Each unique outfit suggested a storyline and backstage the designers described their muse of the moment as Aimée Crocker, an American heiress who at the turn of the 19th century took off for Japan, where she was fascinated by pearls, snakes, eccentric art and Buddhism – not necessarily in that order.
“She was this Edwardian adventurer, who wrote this amazing book called And I’d Do It Again,” said Georgina. “She was just pretty fearless and fabulous and was obsessed with the Far East. So we were reading about her and feeling very inspired.”
The designers added lotus flower ruffles, obi corset belts and cascades of wisteria in satin – all with a nod to the Far East rather than literal translations of Japanese culture.
Compared to, for example, the 2007 John Galliano Madame Butterfly show for Dior, Marchesa was not in the same league in terms of the exquisite delicacy and Geisha glamour created in haute couture. But the duo’s work is increasingly cultivated and under control, with its silk-organza wisteria flowers and cherry blossom embroidery worked in 3D.
Perhaps, like Aimée Crocker, a woman who chooses these clothes will, as the current designers put it, “push the boundaries of modernity – finding beauty in exploration and independence”.