Heritage can be stifling. How far can Leonard’s signature printed silk motifs actually go? Since her nomination as creative director of the house in March 2016, Christine Phung has been striving to take the brand’s identity to new heights. Sometimes her modern take works; at others it feels constrained.
The fall collection was the latter. Themed around a plane trip to Jaipur, India, the show was accessed because of boarding passes. Silk eye masks were laid out on seats, while on the runway models rolled Tumi suitcases, held printed neck pillows and one even wore a safety jacket. These were fun gimmicks, but they couldn’t distract from the busy prints that were splashed over total looks: in dominant tones of pink, orange, blue and purple, long silk dresses, fluid jackets, shirts, short kimonos and caftans were covered in garish orchid motifs. Most silhouettes were barely more than holiday dresses for heiresses; others looked like stewardesses from a particularly flashy airline company.
Gold lamé touches on the three black silhouettes were more convincing, taking the prints straight to evening wear. Phung played with nuances: printed silk details were ingeniously placed around wrists and belt linings on wool coats and pinstriped suits, while the collection’s orchid motif looked fresh in more muted tones, covering a contemporary oversized bomber jacket with a faux-fur collar.
There were fanny packs and cycling shorts, as well as great luggage options: huge printed weekend bags would conveniently stand out amidst the usual sea of grey and black suitcases at any given airport terminal.