The up-and-coming Markarian brand got a serious boost from First Lady Jill Biden on Inauguration Day, and with her fall 2021 collection, Alexandra O’Neill more than lived up to the hype, putting the designer on a course to become a new American classic.
That O’Neill can make a party dress is a given, and her one-shoulder blue-pink metallic wood grain minidress with dramatic pink train is this season’s prime example. A petal-sleeve, 1940s-feeling rosewood silk jacquard dress with black bows and crystal trim on the bodice was also charming — and very First Lady Biden.
But this collection proved her skill doesn’t stop there, with plenty of options for dressed-up days at home, and, god help us, out and about.
Channeling memories of the early 2000s miniseries “Rome” and high school studies of classical mythology, she whipped up a romantic range of silk jacquard corseted column dresses, brocade puff-sleeve tops, Dionysian grapes burnt out velvet skirts, recycled cashmere cardigans and crystal-trimmed pajamas, all with the special feminine and vintage-y touches that are becoming Markarian signatures.
“I gave into loungewear,” O’Neill laughed, when speaking about the pajamas. Maybe so, but loungewear the Markarian way is more silver screen boudoir than slob, as exemplified by a chic-at-home gold silk jacquard double breasted robe-dress with black shawl collar and buttons.
A sweetheart-red, heart-knit Henley dress was on point for the emerging sweater dressing trend, and a cream-and-black cashmere wrap sweater with fringed end draped over the shoulder looked fabulous over a black jacquard midi skirt with playful cream godet pleats.
She worked her signature cutouts into a slim black jacquard pencil skirt with three peekaboo side ties at the hip, and her love of ornament into a pearl-beaded cardigan inspired by her collection of sweaters from the Manhattan Vintage Show.
A flirty fitted and flared velvet-trimmed black wool coat was reminiscent of the famed Inauguration coat. Other outerwear ranged from an Eighties-glam black vegan patent quilted leather plush wrap coat to a dressy-looking copper-hued tailored wool coat with black piping and buttons down the front.
Piled-on gold jewelry, including statement chokers, pearl drop earrings, matching claw bracelets worn over sweater cuffs, and chunky jeweled chain belts, added to the ladylike feel and offered more accessible points of entry to the three-year-old brand, which deserves to be on New York fashion’s must-watch list.