If there was ever anything fundamentally wrong with turning a fashion presentation into something resembling more of an all-out bash, I have never found it. “It’s like a party,” said Veronica Swanson Beard of the Veronica Beard fall 2014 showcase on Wednesday night, held at the High Line Hotel (Swanson Beard helms the line with sister-in-law Veronica Miele Beard). “Well, we try to make it one, rather than a static 15-minute presentation.”
Mission accomplished. Chelsea Leyland, the DJ du jour, skillfully shuffled between something recorded yesterday and Escort’s “Cocaine Blues.” You know how that song goes: “A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork: That’s the way we spell New York.”
But it wasn’t a New York girl the Veronicas were channeling. It was, in fact, “the ultimate Californian girl” who served as inspiration for the collection. You could picture her bouncing between parties at the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Troubadour in a gold foil tux jacket and matching high-waisted skinny trousers. That was her rocker side (the model in that outfit even looked like a kissing cousin to Jamie Bochert). The Veronica Beard girl could also be a bit bohemian in her floral chiffon maxi dress, which was lovely but would have been even better if it were styled with flats rather than the towering Rupert Sanderson heels. Still, those were both solid, salable pieces. But one of their most modern and personal statements came in the form of matte lambskin shorts with inverted pleats that looked part gaucho, part skirt. Even if you didn’t love them, you had to admire the silhouette.
There were also sprinkles of the '70s throughout the collection: a silk charmeuse wrap maxi dress, a raccoon stole, a black jumpsuit. If the Oscars do anything right this year, they’ll award Michael Wilkinson best costume designer for American Hustle, so the Beards' instincts were right on the nose. And on top of a jumpsuit’s plunging V-neck and high waist, the garment had rhythm around the body. It was one-of-a-kind.
And you can’t talk about a Veronica Beard collection without bringing up the dickey. This season, they were subtler than usual: a black ottoman-knit moto version was paired with a jacquard sweatshirt. It was almost invisible. But that pared-back practicality played well with this new darker, more subversive side. Veronica Swanson Beard once said, “There are so many designers out there trying to create fantasy. We’re trying to create reality.” This time around, they went bone deep in creating a new narrative -- and it worked. After all, fantasies, sometimes, do come to true.