For Tadashi Shoji, Spring ’15 started in Venice. Specifically Ca’ d’Oro—the famous golden palace that sits right on the Grand Canal. “It was the reflection of the palace on the water that inspired me,” Shoji said at his studio a day before the show. Indeed, the collection appeared to be bathed in a soft glow. For instance, there was a certain warmth to the capped-sleeve cocktail dress made of pink embroidered tulle, and the blush lace tunic with bell sleeves. Gondolier stripes furthered the reference, showing up on a shirtwaist chiffon gown. It could’ve been hokey, but instead those stripes were yacht-party perfect.
One can’t help but think of the red carpet when looking at Shoji’s work, and there were plenty of options on that front, including a grand metallic gold gown with a dramatic floor-length cape, and a navy gown made of pleated georgette with a subtle chain-mesh inset at the waist. But the designer seemed to have the most fun with more casual, stiff-collar pieces, including a lattice-printed top and pleated skirt in periwinkle, as well as a white shirtdress inset with metallic navy lace. Shoji’s take on the traditional trench—made from lace and fitted close to the body like a dress—worked well as an eveningwear topper. The only real misstep in this well-executed collection was a rainbow-pastel lace shirtwaist dress, which was too busy to wear formally and too lacy to pull off for day. But that can be forgiven, given how nice it was to be transported to Venice.