Jill Stuart Fall/Winter 2013

February 9, 2013

Click the photo for more looks from Jill Stuart.

In the midst of a sea of reporters, socialites, and celebrities trying too hard to be noticed by street photographers, Jill Stuart’s, simple, gorgeous, and brilliant Fall/Winter 2013 show was a revelation. Staged in the Theatre and packed to the rafters, the show began almost 25 minutes late, leaving many glamorous fashionistas uncomfortably shifting from foot to foot in towering heels while checking their iPhones, pretending to text. But when the speakers began to blare rock music and the lights came up, all was forgiven.

Ms. Stuart began with a perfectly tailored wool tuxedo jacket paired with equally flattering pants, letting the audience know that her clothes were for a girl unafraid to take risks. This ensemble was followed by a slew of perfectly on-trend, monochromatic outfits in different shades of black and grey — a swingy A-line party dress complete with white cuffs and collar; a lustrous winter coat that bulged fashionably at the upper arms; a sleek dark vest paired with a liquid black button-down. All were wearable, unique, and worthy of envy.

However, as the show progressed, Ms. Stuart proved that she was capable of creating far more than just the cool-girl uniform. Her favored understated fabrics were replaced suddenly with a positively sumptuous pattern that appeared to have been snached from the tapestries of an English manor: black and spotted with small, richly colored figures, the fabric worked perfectly on short-hemmed dresses made unique by clever scalloping on the chest and hips. These were followed by an array of sheer black blouses and dresses dotted with pure gold polka dots, a touch that elicited sighs of longing from the audience. And then there were the stripes: geometrically arranged and brilliantly hued in shades of black and red, they elevated Stuart’s flouncy dresses from simply clever to inspired.

The designer’s only misstep was her show’s final act, which consisted of peach-hued dresses dripping in applique flowers and ironic sweetness; this choice seemed out of place within her overarching cool girl aesthetic. Her styling, on the other hand, was spot-on: the girls’ hair was straight and slightly mussed, and brimming with the electricity of winter air. As for makeup? Almost none. In short, Ms. Stuart presented a series of clothes that weren’t just next season’s look — if the eyes of the women in the audience were any indication, they wouldn’t have minded wearing Ms. Stuarts creations right out of the tent and into the chilly February morning.

Helen Holmes is a deputy features editor. Email her at hholmes@nyunews.com.

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