While reading Willa Cather’s Prairie Trilogy, which was first printed in 1913 with “O, Pioneers,” Alice Archer was inspired by the author’s rich descriptions of nature, which she channeled into a collection abloom with embroidered wildflowers in silhouettes that lightly hinted at the period during which the books were published.
It was a romantic collection, verging on sentimental, with a palette inspired by the vast blue sky, green fields and pink dress worn by the protagonist in Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” and white, which appeared as broderie anglais in long and short incarnations of a prairie dress embroidered with black-eyed Susans.
Archer’s flair for embroidery was also at work in stems of fluffy-headed yarrow that appeared throughout, beginning with a soft pink silk pantsuit that belted at the waist, and including a mint green kimono and in a pretty off-the-shoulder blush satin-tiered gown.
Virginia bluebells looked lovely backed by blue cotton in a drawstring waist jumpsuit with a Pierrot collar, and the ice green trousers that came with a matching midriff-baring bodice top was a nice balance of innocence and sophistication.
The eveningwear, which is usually a standout, fell slightly short of the mark. The mint gown with a satin bodice and tulle skirt would have been better all in tulle, and the top of the lilac two-piece ensemble looked a bit rudimentary by comparison to Archer’s previous efforts.