Once upon a time in the fashion continuum there was such a thing or rather a classification termed as Designer Sportswear which morphed into Collection Sportswear which then disappeared. Apparently there was a paradigm shift in what the consumer was looking/shopping for which in no small part was fueled by the media and publications… but I digress... and yet the stage is set for this review!
Now kiddies, if you are caught up on your fashion history or have a memory/resume longer than 20 minutes you will recall there was a designer by the name of Anne Klein. She was the queen of Designer Sportswear and she even got to participate at the “Battle of Versailles.” Last evening it became apparent to me that Hanley Mellon follows in the footsteps of this great designer and her design path. This is not a collection that can be reviewed in the same way that most are reviewed as this is a collection where the sum is calculated by the value of its parts/pieces and not just a dress or just a jacket or just a gown.
Nicole Hanley and Matthew Mellon offer their women a choice. Imagine, we are not just speaking of which dress or which suit we are not discussing which jacket, which skirt or which pant. Yes, the collection is shown as the designers’ vision as to how it should be put together and that is probably how it will be bought BUT there are options! As with great sportswear (Perry Ellis), there is a great selection of fabrications and shapes but most of all there is this thing/concept called options or possibilities.
If you know Ms. Mellon, you know that she does not fit a mold. Nicole Mellon is a fashion independent. She understands the high low of fashion, she doesn’t wardrobe herself like most women of her age nor does she present herself as any kind of cookie cutter designer. It is with this same bravura that she conceives these collections. This is a collection that mixes uptown girl with boho girl with “please don’t make me wear another sleeveless neoprene dress!”
Individuality and independence may come at a price as the collection steers clear of what so many think is a collection. With what is offered here, one might go so far as to say there is no age attached to Hanley Mellon nor is there a target client. There is spirit! The fabrications are luxe and not ostentatious, the shapes do not require an instruction manual or a road map and again most of all there are options! Yes, eyelash cellophane in black is a winner, herringbone cashmere is forever chic, double stripe tux pants are a winner as well as a plethora of suedes, charmeuses, camel cashmere and velvet. As I write I can see Anne Klein departments in Saks, Bergdorf’s and Bloomingdales all filled with these kinds of chic and lush separates. This is what helped build fashion and not another over the top senseless over worked dress. Does this store buyer still exist today??
If there is a drawback here, it might be the print which is always a sticking point in any collection as prints are just so particular and so personal. One more thing ... the puddling pants need to go the way of Rachel Zoe!
The collection is evolving and has taken major giant steps from last season to this and one can only hope that the trajectory and path continue on this very polished, understated and thought provoking path.