With the fall show timed to the day before Valentine’s, in the thick of red-carpet season and not a week after Keren Craig gave birth to her second child — and Georgina Chapman due to give birth in April — the designers had no shortage of reality-based sentimentality from which to draw their creative gusto. They chose Francisco de Goya’s “Portrait of Maria Teresa de Vallabriga on Horseback,” which set the lineup back in the classical grandeur of the 17th century European aristocracy where rich duchesse satin ballgowns ruled. Playing toward flushed feminine types, the designers chose a palette in a range of reds — from blush to burgundy to blood — crafting dramatically constructed gowns and coats with cutaway skirts from that rich duchesse, often traced with regal gold embroidery. On one hand, it’s the fabric of princess dreams; on the other, when used too liberally, it brings to mind fancy drapes. There were instances of both in this collection, with the winners coming from the short or slim school of thought.
Lest the lineup sink in satin quicksand, Chapman and Craig lightened things up. Layering sheer gauze shirts with corset dresses brought a sense of breathing room to the look; a delicate black tulle dress cut lean and off-shoulder with nude floral embroidery was sweet perfection.