The Clothes: For Chadwick Bell’s girl this season, one is the loneliest number. She’s in the Southwest and “the journey for her this season is very lonely. She needs that space to find herself,” the designer told me backstage. And in the process of finding herself or nirvana (as described in the program notes), she’s exploring austerity and simplicity; as she gains confidence, she plays with adornment and dimension in the clothes. Beginning with the girl’s initial “discovery”, the first few looks featured minimal silhouettes of boxy tops and tapered pants and culottes in a pared down palette of khaki, black, and white. As his girl continued to “find herself,” the looks became more textured and voluminous. The structured tops evolved into tailored palm frond lace jackets, dresses, and skirts in hues of dusty pink and acid green. His girl completed her search for self with looser silhouettes of swing jackets, jumpsuits, and an off-white bell-shaped finale gown of silk chiffon and mesh tulle. A common Bell theme is the concept of duality, which was reflected this season with black and white, and juxtaposing hard fabrics like leather and lace against soft georgette, guipuire lace, and viscose jersey.
The Hair & Makeup: The models were fresh faced with a slightly dewy matte finish, and had simple combed brows and nude lips. New York based milliner Worth & Worth created black visors with a thin filmy curtain of white netting (perhaps to protect her from the harsh Southwestern sun?) The models had simple buns paired with the veils or thick 3-inch elastic headbands to sweep the hair off their face.
The Soundtrack: The kind of music you might hear at a Southwestern spa, at soul-searching events like Burning Man, or while smoking peyote. Or all three at the same time. ("Making Mirrors" by Gotye)
The Vibe: The Studio at Lincoln Center was intimate and without the paparazzi frenzy of reality stars.
The Front Row: June Ambrose in a baseball cap and full-length red silk maxi skirt with children in tow, Robert Verdi, Aslaug Magnusdottir of Moda Operandi who also came backstage to greet the designer (and perhaps talk some pre-order business?), some very excited original ‘Standing’ designees who scored front row seats.
Celebrity We'd Most Like to See Wearing this Collection: Rachel Weisz, Kirsten Dunst, Byrdie Bell
WTF Moment: Someone on Twitter not enjoying the nirvana-inspired song choices at Chadwick Bell: “I have never hated music more than what we are being subject to at Chadwick Bell. I can’t even enjoy the clothes.”
What the designer said: “[I see] women of all ages wearing the collection. It’s for a woman who’s not too contrived or thinks too hard about what she’s wearing. She really understand her place in the world and gets her existence.”
What the line sheet said: “Stacked paillette necklaces and lace motif shoes carved of pony skin add to her adornment, and she becomes a Saint. Ascension ends her journey to Nirvana.”