First and foremost, Gilles Mendel is an artist, an artisan. His craftwork shows an incredible eye for design and detail as well as the female form. Last season’s ballet modernist mashup was a total dream.
This season for J. Mendel, there were no ballet looks, but it was just as graceful. He took inspiration from the Jazz Age of the 1920’s and the Cubist movement of the early 20th century. It was in the 1920’s that women had “a certain freedom” according the Gilles, and you can find that nostalgic freedom of movement in many of the silhouettes in his current collection. Like the floaty blush toned slip gown in tiers of sequins, or the pleated teal off-the-shoulder caped number, both weighty and free flowing at once.
Like many designers, he’s trying to answer today’s question of how to create haute fashion looks while also addressing leisure and function. and even more effortless and flowing for today’s dynamic buyer. And what a perfect opportunity to address this ever-looming question than with a collection centered around the 1920’s – the heyday of free form fashion for women? The skirts and hemlines showed this era more than anything – trumpet, tiered, inverse handkerchief. But by far my favorite pieces were the detailed corsets, showing off his Cubist reflections.
But an obvious timelessness was embedded in the collection. An ivory scoop neck micro-pleated gown read just as much future bridal gown as it read RTW. Wide leg pants were fitted at the waist, accompanied by vintage style embroidered and beaded blouses. An impeccable full length white coat with fur stole built in at the wrist has classic heirloom written on it. These are pieces intended to live on.
The evening looks were true J. Mendel romance in house pleats and graceful forms, with a focus in relaxed corsetry in varying tones of pink and peach. The kind of faux corset styles that makes you look good without feeling breathless. There’s no doubt, this design house is both fashion and art form.