At an L.A. dinner in June to celebrate her collaboration on swimwear with Summersalt, Markarian designer Alexander O’Neill was getting ready to embark on a summer holiday to the Italian Riviera.
And that’s where she drew inspiration from for her spring 2023 collection, shown at the beautiful Ukranian Institute on East 79th Street, with a bevy of brand supporters in the front row, including Katie Couric, Nicky Hilton, Candace Bushnell, Ivy Getty, Veronica Webb and more.
“I looked to old Renaissance masters, especially the Bernini sculpture ‘Apollo and Daphne,’ with Daphne growing into the tree. So many of the floral motifs have a wispy, vine-like design to them,” she said in the backstage hustle before the show. “There was also a modern take on Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ with pearls, a celebration of the Dolce Vita,” she added, pointing out a pearl studded black linen nipped-waist dress.
The theme was pretty subtle, actually — mostly, there were lots of feminine dresses with her signature shimmer and shine, starting with look one, a white minidress with vine-like gold embroidery and a dramatic watteau train that could be a modern bridal gown, straight through to draped silk metallic columns, floaty chiffon goddess gowns and swishy sequined dresses in sunny hues worn with flat sandals for a casual, resort look.
There was something for everyone, and almost all of them were winners. A long lavender sequined skirt with inverted chiffon pleats and allover embroidery resembling pressed flowers was a highlight in a season with lots of statement skirts, and a strapless silver and pink metallic floral jacquard dress with full skirt had real retro charm.