NYFW: MARCHESA F/W 2014

Ten years really isn’t very long in the fashion world, especially when there are major players such as DVF and Donna Karan celebrating 40 and 30 years respectively this season. A decade is barely a drop in the bucket. Yet, for Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, the past ten years have seen amazing growth as their brand, Marchesa, has become synonymous with luxury, fine tailoring, and impeccable styling in women’s wear. Part of the uniqueness of this team is that while Geogina focuses on design, Keren’s expertise lies in textiles and the combination of the two have made Marchesa a fashion powerhouse unlike any other.

For their fall/winter collection, the pair continue what they started in the spring with a gently hued offering that  avoids too much black and plays gently with soft golds, browns, orange, and deep jewel tones. Yes, there’s a touch of red and the requisite little black dress, but Marchesa is a brand that taps you gently on the shoulder and whispers sweet nothings in your ear, not one that slaps you in the face, demanding your attention.

As always, it is the texture and print of the materials that really gets one’s attention. Keren has absolutely outdone herself this season. Fabrics look and feel as if they were hand-constructed, blending elements of gold metallic with paper-thin threads of silk.  Sumptuous bead work on the most delicate and complicated designs represent a commitment to quality that is unbelievable. Who does this kind of hand work any more on a production level? Brocades and embroidery are everywhere making this possibly the most detail-oriented collection we’ve seen in New York this season.

Georgina’s designs make the most of Keren’s fabrics with unexpected pieces of asymmetry, surprisingly seductive  cuts, and contemporary silhouettes that are feminine, baring shoulders and playing with necklines, but still giving the wearer plenty of room to move and be comfortable. There is an unspeakable elegance here not duplicated in any other American brand.

At the same time, there are some surprises. Silk laced-up stockings under an amazing black dress give the look a sharp, young, contemporary feel that has a bit of an edge to it. Sheer tops paired with carefully draped silks require a well-toned and probably more youthful body than the average Marchesa shopper is likely to have. The girls don’t shy away from being sexy and seductive and one needs a decent helping of self confidence to wear some of these pieces.

So much detail puts this collection at a price point well out of range for most younger women, but these dresses are worth some sacrifice. No one comes close to matching the unique Marchesa look nor its impeccable quality. Grab one if you can and wear it proudly.

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