Alice + Olivia Fall 2013: An Exercise in Excess

Opulence was the name of the game at Alice + Olivia for Fall 2013. Stacey Bendet took a decidedly darker direction this season, replacing the simple
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Nora Crotty
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Opulence was the name of the game at Alice + Olivia for Fall 2013. Stacey Bendet took a decidedly darker direction this season, replacing the simple
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Opulence was the name of the game at Alice + Olivia for Fall 2013. Stacey Bendet took a decidedly darker direction this season, replacing the simple, girlish '50s shapes of spring with texture, embellishments, and ultra-feminine silhouettes at her line's presentation last night at the Highline Stages. A violinist accompanied the DJ spinning '90s tunes (Natalie Imbruglia, No Doubt, Fiona Apple) that wafted over a crowd of sharply dressed It-girls downing macarons and champers.

The designer described her inspiration as "fantasy street style, starting on the streets of Paris with girls in really cool daytime layered looks filled with the unexpected." For Bendet, that 'unexpected' element took shape in laser-cut and quilted leather with beaded accents, the unconventional and very un-punk use of plaid, punchy patch-worked fur, moody winter florals on raw silk, brocade, embossed velvet, and glittery wovens. It was rich, aspirational, and certainly fantastical.

No detail went overlooked--but nothing looked too overworked, either. Models with berry lips and golden eyes wore their hair in wispy Heidi-braids, some decorated with blood-red roses. I was shocked to find myself drawn to--gasp!--a peplum, re-imagined with marabou feathers on several beaded black lace dresses. A navy floral ball skirt paired with a simple turtleneck looked destined to land on Paris fashion week blogs, though the same could be said for, well, pretty much all of it. Guests, including online cool kid Cory Kennedy, went especially snap-happy over a tiny zebra-shaped purse. "That bag caught my eye really hard," she gushed. "It's just awesome."

Can I just say it? I'm saying it. I loved this collection.

Photos: IMAXtree