The Harlem Renaissance, the movement was the inspiration behind Emilia Wickstead’s spring collection. She explored the clothes worn at legendary Jazz Age hot spot The Cotton Club by the likes of jazz singer Cab Calloway (who had a fondness for bow ties) and a young Billie Holliday. “It was a glamorous place,” said Wickstead. “People really dressed up.”
She also looked to the Deep South, which informed a few wide sun hats that tied under the chin, calling to mind those worn in the fields by cotton pickers to keep the sun off, as well as demure silhouettes and occasional dropped waistline.
Plenty of Wickstead’s signatures were at play — the high-waisted trousers, the nipped waists, the blousy sleeves — but with new touches in volume and texture.
The opening look — a white silk shirt with a long black bow tied at the neck and sleeves that crisscrossed with the same black ties, worn with white trousers in a more relaxed fit — was followed by three looks that played with transparency, the seams marked out in black, giving them a cartoonish aspect.
Among the other standouts were a little white camisole dress with bows down the front; a blue dress with swathes of fabric along the décolletage and scooping the low back; an ankle-length dress in a delicate white and green floral print with a very low dropped waist (almost hobble skirt-low) and sleeves gathered for puffy effects, and the charmingly simple high-waisted white shorts worn with a fine cream knit that tied at the neck and had a boyish elegance.
But this wasn’t lacking in sex appeal. Rose gold sequined dresses beaded with pearls added some shimmer, while plunging necklines that exposed the skin from collarbone to waistline and flashes of flesh through keyhole necklines kept things a little racy. Just a little, though.