Speaking of understated sophistication, the J. Mendel Fall 16 RTW collection was exactly that. Gilles Mendel chose two muses to inspire his work – Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka and photographer Sheila Metzner. Mendel wanted to focus on the elegance and beauty that both artists showcase in their work, especially their interpretations of the calla lily.

J. Mendel - Photo Monica Feudi - Indigital5The collection began with monochromatic black and white looks that subtly showcased the curve of the body in mimicry of the curve of the calla. Wide pinstripes and hairline cutouts accentuated the flattering drape of the garments. A blue and tan color block crocodile suede knee-length fit and flare is my future love affair.

The details begin to ramp up with an electric red double slit dress with an origami fold at the waist, cutouts along the bodice, and a red velvet duster with vibrant ultramarine blue undertones and lining. An athleisure tracksuit is underscored in thin white stitch striping and covered in a grey green fur coat. But my favorite element is the sporty geometric panel that pops in and out of the collection as a faux neckline. I love the racer front trend, and this take on it is so incredibly chic.

The calla lily translation becomes more literal at the end of the collection with evening gowns. Red callas with blue leaves are embroidered on the bodice of a striking red gown, and cascade down one side. A navy midi dress has geometric panels covered in white callas and black metallic beading. A nude pencil dress with cutout shoulders has white sequin callas and a thin white belt.

The most beautiful looks were mere silhouettes of a flower, with the metallic shimmer gowns, a hunter green scoop neck embossed in black embellishments, and similar effect on a sheer gold number.

Whether subtle or literal, the looks are crisp, perfectly tailored, and so sophisticated. A stellar collection.

 

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