Stacey Bendet is perceptive. It hasn’t escaped her that the term “pre-fall” is a bit misleading; it delivers during June and July when her customers are attending events in the summer heat. For about two years now, she’s been positioning all her product offering to be more seasonless and ready-to-buy. Her customer isn’t waiting to wear new purchases, just like she wouldn’t as a shopper. What’s important is that each collection has the mood of the season, cut in soft transitional fabrics to be worn throughout the year.
There’s a reliable narrative of romance within each collection, this season referenced through a Thirties-Forties lens and Joe Wright’s 2007 feature film, “Atonement.” Garden scenes inspired floral prints on ethereal dresses, featherweight metallic blouses and a sleek embroidered denim suit. Burnout printed velvet, sheer organza tops and shadow stripe blouses provided lightness and space to breathe. The references were clear but not overbearing. The green dress Keira Knightley wore in the film inspired Bendet to offer her own stunner in hot raspberry, featuring quality engineering with lace, ruffle trims and pin-tucked georgette. The bright hue was a refreshing pop of color in the otherwise rich palette of cream, navy and wine.
What Bendet does so well is inject sophisticated whimsy in inviting ways. There was no shortage of that here. A cute knit top with fur sleeve accents was a clear standout. The robe-jumpsuit hybrid another example of polish and playfulness. Even the celebrity-favorite Angela coat was updated with lightweight sequins; styled with the new beaded booties, the look was pure street-style fodder.