If you don’t know William Tempest, you soon will. He’s a baby-faced 24-year-old Englishman with an amazing pedigree (stints at Giles Deacon and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac) who already counts Emma Watson, Kate Moss, and Victoria Beckham as fans. After his first collection debuted three seasons ago, he was compared to a young McQueen.
This is his first season showing in New York. I asked him what he found different about showing in New York vs. London and he told me, “The energy’s just really different. I was excited to do a presentation here so that I could actually meet editors and buyers in person.” He’ll also be showing in Milan this season. His clothes are clearly ready for their international close-up.
Tempest’s spring collection was inspired by the sirens, mythical half women/half sea creatures who supposedly lured sailors, and caused shipwrecks. The whole theme was pitch perfect, from the sandy and coral colors, right down to the names of the garments. The Oyster Dress (pic at left, with the designer) was causing a sensation when I was there.
Tempest designs sophisticated party and evening wear. His last few collections were more structured and body conscious. Here, corseting was still present, but it was tempered with lots of floaty chiffon and easy draping. The colors were stunning. The requisite nudes were there, with pops of raspberry, coral, and lemon sneaking in. There was a recurring velvet devoré pattern rendered in neutrals and raspberry that looked like writhing, swimming nymphs.
The shoes, a collaboration with Mechanté of London, were also gorgeous. The chunky platform sandals came in a variety of colors from nude to two-toned and complemented the collections perfectly. Coral and gray ones were swoon-worthy.
I’m expecting that many women stateside will long to be one of William Tempest’s sirens.