The fragility and edge of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs of flowers was Sylvie Millstein’s main inspiration for fall. She wanted to capture exactly those ideas — elegance, simplicity, strength — that his photos were composed of in outfit form. “It was such a mix of elegance and danger at the same time,” she said backstage. “We played with some androgyny, but it’s a superfeminine collection with an edge.”
It was heavy on tops, which have been Millstein’s strongest category, with silhouettes designed to highlight them, for example, by showing a dainty pastel floral jacquard cloque shirt twisted and fitted to fall off the shoulder with a pair of black pants with a tuxedo tail. The off-shoulder look has been a Hellessy staple and Millstein worked to keep it fresh with exact fits, new twists and slashes and fabrications, such as a varsity sweater style. The lineup had range — the dark glamour of an absinthe-colored brocade top tied with delicate black grosgrain ribbons; a star print shirtdress and new denim pants and shirts — but it didn’t feel like a collection so much as a variety of strong statement tops. Millstein has that category under control, now she needs to strengthen the full picture.