A small shuffle from neon hues to vibrant jewel tones and a break-up with fuschia were the only indications that Erin Fetherston’s new 2014 collection — revealed last night at the Union Square W — is an Autumn/Winter collection. But that’s as somber as Fetherston gets.
The sunny Bay Area designer based the new digs on the aesthetic of the former Barbizon Hotel for Women, roundabouts mid-century. Legends like Grace Kelly, Cybill Shepherd, Sylvia Plath, and Joan Didion were all residents of this 63rd Street dorm that doubled as charm school, often whisking notable women into New York society at an accelerated pace.
Fetherston’s shapes certainly evoke the institution’s heyday–brocade lace, wide pleated skirts, pearl-studded evening gloves — Mad Men-era stuff, which incidentally also featured the Barbizon in two episodes. But she goes further with a stunning specificity. The jacquard motifs and heavy textures of her gowns match the building’s neo-gothic architecture.
Bespectacled models wore it well, pulling off the smart girl-in-prep-for-cotillion look nicely.
We see the collection as a grown-up and graduated sequel to last year’s collegiate Alice and Olivia Spring line.
Or, conversely, the inside of the ladies’ costume trailer for a certain upcoming, hotel-based Wes Anderson feature. Either way, we’re appropriately charmed.