Whether you're a PETA sympathizer or collect vintage rabbit jackets by the dozen, you have to admit that designer Gilles Mendel knows his way around a fur coat. And there were plenty of bank-account-busting pieces Mendel's high-end clientele will swoon over this season, with the focus on tribal body art motifs. It’s an unlikely inspiration for Mendel, to be sure, but it came across loud and clear in the mink overcoats carefully shaved into diagonal lines and circular curves so as to mimic aboriginal tattoos.
Many of the designer's famous gowns picked up on the tribal vibe as well, with sheer sleeves that bore Maori-looking beadwork. Every look was shown with a super-long silk scarf dripping with embellishment and fringe--very Stevie Nicks chic--and the lovely boots (of Mendel's own design!) made for nice finishing accents. We liked the abundance of contrasting sleeves he showed--here, a cavallino coat with arms of silver fox; there, a fox intarsia coat with sleeves cut from felt wool.
But the real showstopper here, at least for us, came midway through the proceedings--an embroidered silk mousseline gown in "mocha" (though it read as blush pink) that would make J. Mendel fan Taylor Swift weep some serious teardrops on that guitar.
**All photos: IMAXTREE