Ever since she presented her first solo show two years ago, Marissa Webb has delivered solid collections, though the overall feel might have been too reminiscent to her work at J.Crew (she was the head of womenswear design) for some. The similarities in aesthetic were there — preppy blazers, ruffled details on pink organza ballerina dresses, the marketable minis and made-to-move little black leather jackets: the new eccentric wasp empire trained her well.
Last night, at her fourth show at Lincoln Center, Webb moved just slightly away from that J.Crew identity and into one that is hers and hers alone. The show began with hyper graphic tweeds. Phantagram played as the models not so much stomped but glided down the runway, and the mood was effortless, feminine.
One piece in particular, a sharp, black and white elongated blazer with a speckled print that multiplied in intensity as the sleeves progressed and gave way to leather from the elbows down, stood out. There were well-cut leather tapered pants — easy to dress up or dress down — and some sheer, rather beautiful, autumnal floral (not at all too girly) breezy dresses. Twists on menswear classics – a classic button down with a sheer back – added a bit of a laid-back sex appeal to an otherwise straightforward, go-to-basics collection. Sexy is never the focus with Webb, but when it does appear, it’s of the intellectually playful variety.
The grand finale was a series of blood red numbers. A lux, rich wool maxi skirt, a deep rouge pencil skirt with a killer slit up the front: These pieces were for the bold – but still professional, very much put together, still a little J.Crew – woman. One who might push it a bit further than her cheeky collegiate sister this go around.