Photos by Stacey Anderson.
A hard rain fell on Anna Wintour, and she was not amused. At Isaac Mizrahi’s spring presentation on Thursday afternoon, typical catwalk decorum fell way to some of the most elaborately absurdist elements ever seen in Bryant Park: models with umbrellas strutted under a drizzling ceiling sprinkler and a golf cart zoomed into the center of the runway. By the end, it seemed only the Vogue editrix remained immune to Mizrahi’s staging; as the rest of the audience giggled, Wintour remained inscrutable in her front-row perch, arms crossed and infamous sunglasses firmly in place.
At least Mizrahi’s collection was willing to indulge in the playfulness of glamour; the tasteful frocks dripped with relic 1930s glamour, from long, lushly beaded evening gowns to sequined black smoking jackets and accompanying cardboard porkpie hats…
His “Astaire Case” theme was not without modernity, though; an RKO-ready iridescent cocktail dress shifted with abstract fringe, and a sequined, strapless jumpsuit adeptly morphed the dominant trend of last season with a more enduring classiness. The collection was gorgeous, as was the ambience of dim lighting and lilting ragtime piano.
The runway was nothing short of an obstacle course: models entered it by descending a rickety case of stairs then walked through the recreated rainstorm in center stage, abetted by an eager stagehand and his umbrella, then repeated the process in reverse. (Perhaps this was a nod to Ginger Rogers’ work ethic; after all, she had to dance all the same moves as Fred, but backwards and in heels. Girl power!) Only the concluding model escaped this dexterous march; she was driven out next to the rain fixture in a white golf cart, where she leapt out of the passenger side to fulfill her long walk in the light.
Isaac Mizrahi is clearly a bit batty. Daisy Buchanan would have loved him, and this entire collection.
Earlier on Thursday, Allude demonstrated an unforeseen multitude of uses for cashmere, not unlike Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba extolling the virtues of shrimp. Turns out, you can make turbans, bandeau tops, belts, and high-waisted briefs out cashmere. You can embroider it and add degrade silk accents, too. Though for the material constraints that the designer, Andrea Karg, limited herself to, the collection was sensual and inventive; an actual sweater made an appearance only towards the tail end of the lineup. Allude also introduced silk chiffon gowns in strong violets, tulle tops with cutout shoulders, and photo-print silk with exaggerated collars. In their own way, they were as winsome as Mizrahi’s line; who knows, maybe Karg will be the one to coax a smile from Wintour someday.