International woman of mystery? Not a bad jumping-off point for a Pre-Fall debut, and it was Greta Garbo’s turn as Mata Hari that Christian Siriano looked to when designing his latest collection. (He’s added this season to his calendar to suit the needs of his many customers in warmer climes—e.g., Dallas, Abu Dhabi—who might typically skim over a Fall offering.) Mata Hari may have been a figure of questionable repute, but Siriano zeroed in on the famous exotic dancer-cum-spy’s costumes as interpreted for a 1931 audience: sex appeal sans much skin, exploring the sensual potential of high necklines and long sleeves. Where both gowns and separates were concerned, Siriano emphasized the quietly erotic—a strappy, laser-cut neckline; a slashed sleeve to expose a sliver of forearm. But there were attention-grabbing elements to spare, thanks to fabrications like a clingy metallic windowpane jacquard, jewel-encrusted satin, and a striated burnout velvet. That last fabric spoke to Siriano’s assessment of his eveningwear customer’s current tastes: “She wants to look a bit cooler—but not too much.”

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