On Wednesday afternoon on a quiet Chelsea block, a bunch of people who don't wait in line waited in line. As they inwardly pondered life's biggest question, "am I important enough to cut to the front?," (Elle's Robbie Myers had her answer: yes) they outwardly declared war on waiting. Finally, editors, buyers, and stylists found neutral territory on one topic: standing outside Marchesa's presentation on a sun-soaked early fall day was, indeed, the apocalypse.
To their credit, it was actually a very long line--thirty minutes, which can create some very annoying problems for those on tight show schedules. But those who exhausted their emotional reserves complaining might’ve regretted it soon after. Immediately upon entrance, onlookers were confronted by a gown whose diameter measured no less than 12 feet, and which drew audible gasps from a very crowded crowd. From then on, Marchesa's spring collection was a true tour de force, a voyage through the Orient that at times seemed to require as much energy to absorb as a real expedition does to travel.
Sure, Marchesa's always teeming with showstoppers and "princess moments," (as Rachel Zoe would say), but this was different. It was a heart-pounding, defibrillator necessary kind of thing, even for the most nonchalant. The arresting element wasn't that this collection was shockingly different than Marchesa's aesthetic: the affinity for one-shouldered looks, the love of beading, the interest in volume were all there. But these things were just that much better this time around.
For spring, designers Karen Craig and Georgina Chapman twisted and turned the notion of volume; in fact, they played cat’s cradle with it, manipulating silhouettes with peplums, bows, and tsunamis of fabric. There was even one cocktail dress that looked oddly like a Koosh ball, and yes, it was fantastic. Even the beading was somehow more enchanting than before, like in my personal favorite, an oyster colored gown with a tangle of jewels in front. The jewels looked like armor, but they also looked cobwebs; it was every bit as magnificent as it was vulnerable.
What’s more, Chapman and Craig did give us something new: pants. Weirdly. I can count on one hand the number of pants Marchesa has shown in twelve seasons of circa thirty looks each, but this time, there were four pant looks: two jumpsuits, and two harem pants, all rendered in a filmy material and delicately tucked at the ankles.
Somehow, Marchesa translated grandeur into a pair of pants- yes, really. That alone was worth the wait.