Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet is holed up at the Pierre while her apartment is being renovated. Not a bad temporary residence, eh? So it was quite convenient to host her Spring 2015 presentation in the hotel’s grand ballroom and foyer, which has frescoes of Versailles on the walls. There was also the matter of this season’s inspiration, which happened to be a trip Bendet took to the famed palace this past spring with her mother and daughter. Kismet, it seemed.
Bendet took inspiration from the modern art installations often hosted at Versailles, transforming one of her old friend Lola Schnabel’s paintings into a print. It landed on a full skirt and a pleated top, as well as a fitted sheath. The designer also created a digital print out of a photo she took of the gardens during the trip, and showed a sweater embroidered with little crowns and other remembrances of Marie Antoinette’s court.
There were a lot of ’70s influences, too—handkerchief dresses; high-waist, wide-leg trousers—many inspired by her mother’s wardrobe from the era. There were ’50s-style tea dresses and beaded gowns as well. Certainly, it was a lot—39 looks in all. Could Bendet have cut that number in half? Almost. But given the marvelous venue, you could forgive her for being overzealous. Standout pieces included a pair of blue-and-white-striped culottes, a key look for Spring; a sweatshirt overlaid with embroidered organza; and perhaps most notably, a series of embellished collarless jackets. (A multicolored version with a charming bird motif was particularly memorable.) Bendet has shown similar pieces in the past, but this time they just really worked. The colors were vibrant and fresh. And they captured that casual glitz Bendet so enjoys. “In the Pierre, everything should sparkle,” she said. And it did.