Fashion is as obsessed as ever with looking backward for inspiration, but its attentions are mostly focused on the 1970s this season. Dressmaker Alessandra Rich's decision to revisit the '80s puts her in a category pretty much her own for Spring. Reference points like Dynasty and the daytime soap opera Santa Barbara didn't exactly set expectations soaring today. It's a tribute to Rich's taste that she made the big collars and even bigger ruffles we associate with those TV shows look right again. A lot of it has to do with proportions. Rich's silhouette remains as long and lean as the day she started. This season she added sash-like belts with mother-of-pearl buckles to the look, but the shoulder pads one also associates with the '80s stayed tucked away in the time machine, thankfully.
Rich has a great eye for fabrics: black organza with shimmering fil coupe flowers, a hand-painted silk dévoré. While she made a concerted effort to expand beyond the lace she's known for, she didn't avoid it entirely, and that's a good thing. A trio of fitted Chantilly numbers with contrasting ribbons of passementerie trimming the edges, seams, and pockets à la vintage Chanel suits were among the best pieces in the collection. A surprise: the derriere-enhancing high-waist jeans with rickrack around the waistband and pockets that were showed with off-the-shoulder bodysuits. This savvy outing should encourage Rich to keep developing her repertoire beyond her ever-desirable party dresses.
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