I’m just waiting. Sooner or later every woman on the planet is going to discover the wonder of Tadashi Shoji and when they do his wonderful creations will sell out over night. He has always brought us masterfully conceived gowns of incredible elegance, but with this spring/summer collection I’m sitting here at the end wondering if this was a fashion show or dress rehearsal for a coronation. Every last piece had royalty sewn into every stitch with an attention to detail and tailoring that one just doesn’t find in ready to wear lines. Why he is not already dominating red carpets everywhere is a mystery to me.
Two elements appear strongly in this line inspired by the Venetian sunsets. First is the lace, so very intricate in its designs, so very carefully stitched together and, from the very first piece, so very sheer. This is definitely one of those collections where one will need to mind their knickers when selecting a dress to wear. Shoji doesn’t seem to mind letting a few things show through; in fact, he seems to make little effort to adjust his designs for the sake of modestly, whether false or otherwise. Yet, the dresses and gowns are so very well composed that one hardly minds if unmentionables are mentioned. This is a spring/summer collection, after all; one wouldn’t want the fabric to be all stuffy. The second element is chiffon, in large quantities, undulating in the breeze like ripples of water along the canals of Venice … minus the off-putting fragrance. Shoji doesn’t hold back here, either, and for those who live in more humid climates this may very well be a factor to consider before buying.
Styles run the gamut from tea length to full evening gowns. The first piece hinted just a bit at the silhouette of a trench coat in white lace. Capes provided sufficient covering for drops in temperature while keeping the aesthetic regal and processional. Shoulders tended to be padded just a bit, but otherwise the silhouettes were carefully tailored, a touch I think one will want to keep in mind when purchasing. These wonderful pieces should fit their wearer with precision, so expect to make some customization to match your body.
Color palettes stayed on the softer side with plenty of pastels in play. What really seemed to work best, though, were the peach-colored pieces. With a tone that rests ever so gently between pink and orange, the color brought surprising excitement to the dresses and gowns every time it came down the runway. Peach is a color easily worn so I would anticipate those being extremely popular.
But then, I think the whole Tadashi Shoji collection should be popular! I think American and European shoppers are still not yet familiar with the name. Once they are, I just don’t see how the whole world doesn’t love Soji’s creations every bit as much as I do.
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison