Finally, someone has done a Blass collection, or at least the closest thing to one in the 7 years or so we've been waiting. It figures it would take one of his Gals to do it. Actually, it would more accurately be attributed to Herve Pierre, Mrs. Herrera's Creative Director. If we turn back the hands of time, we remember that Herve was Robin to Lars Nillson's Batman at Blass before they were traded for Peter Som's Joker. Unconsciously, Carolina and Herve gave birth to a baby Blass collection without knowing what they were doing. The little tot was born with the requisite 10 fingers and 10 toes but it also seemed to have 2 heads, or at least 2 personalities.
This collection was rife with all the ingredients that Bill often used: Sable, satin, sumptuous silks,some rich color, hats, swagger, gator, suits, sable,lace, shocking mixes of fabrics and textures,cashmere, gazar, oh, and sable. It was pure Uptown, 10021 Park Avenue preciousness. The Le Grenouille, La Goulue menu of self entitled, back to the rule book , in your face, get out of my way, don't you know who I am , I'm Mrs. ....oh who has time for this, just get me a table in the frontnow, before I miss my appointment at Kenneth, DAMNIT!!!! I'm getting ahead of myself.
The collection opened with Sable. Sable trimming coats and a sable jacket cut masterfully if you ignore the whole front that was replaced with a panel of brush stroke printed satin. That was the first jarring element of mad mixing that had me wondering what surprises lay in wait. Why would you take a perfectly luscious sable jacket and stick a satin panel smack in the middle of the front? This and many other questions come to mind when I look at her choices. There are many that just confound. When they stuck to the Blass track there were interesting , nostalgic looks that charmed. One suit in particular in grey houndstooth , under a very wide brimmed hat and all swaddled in, you guessed it, cashmere and SABLE, it had all the panache of Blass' good old ouevre. The silly brown beaded belt added nothing to the look, but that detail pops up constantly in her collections...sometimes to its detriment. The wide brimmed hat occurred again and again over a multitude of looks. Another beautiful jacket was crocodile but the sleeves were cut in wool. Why give us a jacket of supreme rarity and beauty and then cut the reverie short by sticking on wool sleeves?
The model Agyness Deyn was turned out in a black jacket , a beautiful organza blouse of layered strips running around her body in bias panels and anchored with full, pleated Hepburn trousers. It was a great look , but it made her appear to be a middle aged matron. That takes some effort. These Gals want to look snappy. They may be wife number 2 or 3 but they want zip and youth. The last thing they want is to look their age or older.
From the beginning to the end there were many ups and downs. Cocktail dresses and evening gowns were generally labored and quirky. Tucking, twisting draping and all manner of techniques were employed to attempt to inject a feeling of couture. One method repeated several times was a tuck it/drape it effect on the skirt just below the thigh. It was a funny spot to choose for creating volume. The end result were a number of dresses and gowns that gave the impression of a second set of meaty thighs below the broadest part of the low hip. I've shown two images; one a water silk printed taffeta with a regrettable puffy bolero and a short black number where the trick works.
Gowns which are an area where Carolina excels were spotty. The simplest ones were always the best. There were several that were very beautiful and luxurious. A red gazar gown stood out from the group due to its exploded godets. This dress was clearly the last gasp of a reference to the old days of Blass, kind of the kitchen sink effect. Carolina Herrera seemed to pull all of her memories of the great man into her collection. This was one dress that should have stayed home.