Bach Mai’s fall 2023 presentation was a long time in the making. The designer explained he’d been wanting to present a collection at the DiMena Center for Classical Music for some time, and ultimately decided his fall collection, titled “Cave of the Sirens,” was the right fit.
“Welcome to the cave of sirens,” Mai said during his presentation on Wednesday. “[The collection] was really about light — the exploration of light. I was really enraptured by this idea of being in a dark sea cave and then this ray of light is just piercing through this cold darkness.”
With choreography produced by Haus of Bambi, models danced among themselves at the center of the fog-filled basement, twirling about in the eveningwear collection that offered black and blue pieces designed in tulle, Lurex and other light-reflecting fabrics and materials.
The collection caught the eye of musician Debbie Harry, who was in attendance with her goddaughter.
“It’s beautiful — I mean [Mai’s] got all of these different elements and I love the fact that he’s doing it in this really creative environment,” she said. “I have to applaud the models. It’s very brave of them to do this because they have to be creative with their movement.”
The look: A balance of ethereal couture with moody eveningwear
Quote of note: “With the Karl Lagerfeld exhibition coming up, [the collection] was really an homage to how influential Karl Lagerfeld was to me in my youth and understanding of couture,” Mai said. “It’s really an exploration of creating a little black dress at the end of the day.”
Key pieces: Mai’s couture sensibility remained strong and he continued his strategy from last season of evolving his silhouettes and design elements. Mai experimented with sequins and new light-reflecting fabrics — with pieces such as a tulle and sequined blue gown and a blue Lurex minidress over a long black skirt. A nod back to his inspiration, Mai introduced a mermaid silhouette, seen in styles like a light-reflecting floor-length gown.
The takeaway: While Mai takes inspiration from couturiers who’ve influenced him, his collection is unique to his own DNA, looking to a modern design aesthetic to create opulent couture-like pieces.