Designer Gilles Mendel’s mood board showed a mix of images from nature — marble, jagged rose quartz and rough blue geodes — for the fall J.Mendel collection. “Raw things,” Mendel said during a presentation. “It’s about the textural part of these things.”
Mendel translated what is found in nature and created a tactile and luscious collection of gowns, cocktail dresses and suiting for evening and a number of plush fur outerwear options. “For me, it’s a celebration of craftsmanship,” he added.
True to his word, he crafted intricately beaded tops and dresses out of a chord textile, tiered ruffled gowns in blush tones, chevron tweed suiting, and used a burnt-out velvet fabric with a marbleized detail on a mix of cocktail dresses. Each piece begged to be touched and examined to see all the handmade care taken to create it, as Mendel manipulated fabric, using raw-edged weightless chiffon to build ethereal evening dresses.
Fur and gown options are de rigueur for Mendel but new for the season, he is working with shearling to loosen things up a bit with a touch of casual — casual for a designer whose lane is red-carpet dressing, that is.
He used it to create cozy teddy-bear coats; they injected some fun, youthful energy into the high-brow evening pieces.
“I’m the old school guy here,” he said with a laugh, while talking about his small atelier’s team. “As the world is changing so fast…understanding the preciousness of things, and how to make things really well, there is value to it, and then less waste in the world.”