While I was at another show, I had to give my beloved alice + olivia to my very trusted friend, FSB Contributor Lauren Lipsay. The only person to whom this awesome task could be trusted, this is her review of one of my favorite life’s-a-party labels:
Stacey Bendet perfectly summed up the alice + olivia aesthetic in her show notes for the Fall/Winter 2012 collection: “A dress is only a dress”until it’s a story.” Bendet designs for a woman who has places to go and people to see, and needs head-turning clothes in which she can conquer the world. Having already helped the working girl with her Career Collection and the laid-back girl with the Base Collection, Bendet sought to help another a+o client with the Fall/Winter collection: the social butterfly. The pieces are perfect for a big dinner party on a winter’s night with sophisticated gowns galore and sequined outerwear to help brave the elements fabulously.
A chic Chelsea gallery was transformed into a full-out Bendet party, as guests alternated between scoping out the looks, sipping their cocktails and jamming to indie-dance beats. A long table full of lavish vintage flatware and decadent desserts served as the space’s centerpiece and – in all likelihood – wasn’t such a far cry from what you’d see at one of Bendet’s own dinner parties. The designer worked the room in one of her chic gowns, with daughter Eloise in tow. Just as with any of the a+o stores, the event helped guests abandon their own demands of Fashion Week and enter Bendet’s whimsical, stylish and carefree one.
This season marks the beginning of the alice + olivia gown collection, but the long frocks felt right at home among the other pieces. Slinky sheaths and vintage-inspired A-line dresses were both on display, in both solid colors and more dramatic prints. Silhouettes were similarly varied among the other looks – a long, ombre wool coat, for example, conjured a completely different vibe than a cropped, sequined bomber that’s already on our wish list.
Elsewhere in the collection, there were even more pieces to covet, ranging from a sharp-shouldered, vividly-patterned blazer to a navy and yellow party dress that oozed uptown glamour. If these looks sound wildly different from one another, that’s okay: alice +olivia’s collections aren’t “cohesive” in the traditional sense.
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Rather than limiting herself to one color scheme or a few signature images, Bendet crafts a story, an evening filled with beautiful confections, and designs outfits for the girls attending that season’s imagined party. And, judging from this most recent presentation, Fall/Winter 2012’s party will be a hell of a good time.