A 1920’s silent screen actress goes to the circus. As cartoon-like as it sounds, this was the actual inspiration for the Cushnie et Ochs A/W 2016 RTW collection. Louise Brooks was an iconic film actress flapper with a penchant for luxurious and relaxed looks in silk, velvet, and fur. She was a part of Coco Chanel‘s movement away from the stiff formality of petticoats, corsets, and caged skirts with relaxed, yet stunningly chic leisure luxe fashion.

Louise Brooks Wearing Coco Chanel
Louise Brooks wearing Coco Chanel

Chic slinky slip dresses were the strength of the collection, with low-cut scoop necklines showing off the impeccable edit of the label. The circus motif showed subtle (thank goodness) in the visual nod to a circus tent via sunburst cutouts in the bodice and neckline of a red velvet slip dress, or the one-shouldered white ruffle top slip dress.

An oversized pleated collar over a relaxed drop waist pays discrete homage to the circus clown. The subtle sateen stripes on a cream squared plunging neckline are turned sideways at the waist to create a gorgeous belted look before running linear again, elongating the lovely feminine silhouette.

I’m one of those clown-fearing people. Thanks to my coworkers, who never miss an opportunity to put a creepy clown picture a la hidden for me to find in my desk. So between that and the over-the-top kitsch, I never imagined I’d love a circus fashion motif.

Few designers could take inspiration from the circus and make it truly chic. The concept in itself is daring, and it could go very wrong very quickly. Yet there were so many truly elegant, gorgeous, and fashion forward looks that it was hard to narrow down to the top pieces I wanted to showcase. Beautiful collection. I say yes to the slip dress  trend!


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