Christine Phung set out to update bourgeois basics by applying a sporty veneer. She mixed up the silky house classics with technical Neoprene fabric coats, chunky wool tweed pencil skirts and capes, a smattering of embroidered leather flower patches and, for shine, shimmery jacquards.
Drilling down on the archives — prints are the very essence of the brand — she left them intact but still found space to do her stuff, zeroing in on blank spaces, which she used to add asymmetry and contrast. In one look, a silk blouse carried the signature house orchid print on one side, but was solid on the other — with a pocket. Paired with handsome high-waisted trousers, slightly flared, Seventies-style, it made for a handsome retro-update.
Some looks verged on weird. Shimmery see-through taffeta felt modern as a Windbreaker, but a bit out-there when fashioned into puffy sleeves on an ankle-skimming dress, while the proportions on a trim, collarless jacket with rounded shoulders felt slightly odd.
Mostly, though, it was pretty cool, with a good deal of inventive layering. A printed silk kimono, tossed over a trim yellow puffer coat, why not? All set, with leopard-printed trousers.
Also, Phung drew up a new pattern — rooster tail feathers. They swooped up and fanned out, bringing something the label ought to welcome: movement.
Phung is finding her place little by little, she said, likening it to a dance. Given the confines of a label with strong character — those prints — her answer was to dig down deeply.
“That’s where the freedom is,” she said before the show.