Have you ever had a brand you really liked and woke up one morning to find you’d just outgrown it? If you’re a fan of Jill Stuart you might just be feeling that way. Jill’s collections have been skewing young and younger for the past couple of years, but as I watched this morning’s runway presentation it became increasingly difficult to imagine anyone above the age of 17 wearing anything that came down this runway. In fact, some of the models looked so young I would almost question whether Ms. Stuart was in violation of the CFDA’s rules regarding model’s ages. There were some very young faces in the lineup.
Ms. Stuart’s theme for this season was, “dancey, electric, sheeny, trippy, magnetic.” There was plenty of sheen, as much of the fabric was sateen, but I’m not sure we’re working with similar definitions for the other descriptors. The line was mostly solids and what few patterns that did appear were much too polite to be considered trippy. With flared legs and loose, layered shifts and baby doll dresses it is really stretching to call anything magnetic. I suppose tight-fitting knit tops and variations on ballet slippers are dancey, but those were not something one quickly noticed, nor a theme that fit well with all the ensembles.
What we do have are a lot of bare shoulders. In addition to the bandeau tops, there were plenty of spaghetti straps and strapless dresses and even a few pieces where the shoulders were cut out. They were all cute, and playful and, let’s be totally honest, a little too adolescent for anyone over 18. They were perfect for young girls who recently hit puberty and are wanting to look more grown up, but there’s a point where that look becomes limiting for young women.
There were a couple of pieces dramatically out-of-pace with the rest. While the majority of fabrics were light and fluffy, there was a long, dark leather jacket that was too heavy and too boxy to fit with the rest that are seasonally appropriate. Then, there was a long black and white dress with an extra low neckline, one that would look fantastic on a woman with a decent bust, but on the very young model wearing it just came off as inappropriate.
There’s not a lot of diversity here, either. Out of 37 models, only five were not caucasian, and those were hidden deep in the lineup. There was no sense of inclusiveness and the models almost seemed to be an afterthought in the casting. We’re only going to give Jill Stuart a two for diversity.
All that being said, the teen market is a good one and focusing her collection to address that market may well be a savvy move. Still, I think there are going to be a lot of young women who find this spring collection skewing too young for consideration.