Tadashi Shoji sees the city of Istanbul as a reference point to guide his pre-fall 2020 collection. The designer said the Hagia Sophia, the museum and former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque, with all of its lavish details and architectural wonders lead him on his roadmap for the season.

The theme played out in a lineup of frothy dresses interpreting the building’s lavish structure with semitransparent silhouettes that play off themes of sheerness and illusion — like a blue, ombre, tiered, floor-length dress, cascading down the body like water.

The tightly edited rage, just over 30 looks, leaned in on ornamentation, like the silver and gold brocades seen on a section of dresses. There were a few touches of masculinity, too, like a double-breasted black tuxedo number with a lace tank underpinning and crystal buttons. Shoji’s work lands at an average of $408 at retail, so it’s a lot of craftsmanship for your buck.

There were moments of lightness, a mix of billowy draped pieces and some dresses cut close to the body with heaps of laces, tulles and bold colored fabrics. It adds up not so much to a hit you over the head reference of the Turkish city, but a nice way to anchor Shoji’s work.

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