Christine Phung covered a lot of territory this season. She wanted a relaxed look for a woman “who travels, who is free, who has nothing holding her back and who explores,” she explained, backstage before the show. This woman is also chic, of course.
Explore she did, kicking off the lineup with a boiler suit made from a savannah print unearthed in the house archives — a beautiful hand-painted landscape print that had never been used.
Tailored pieces came first. Trenchcoats and uniform-inspired pieces included pleated trousers and shorts, the volumes amped-up nicely; collared safari shirts, and dresses and vests with square pockets.
Then, shifting to fluid silhouettes — draping, knotting and interlacing fabric — and broadening and brightening the colors, she worked in influences from the Maasai region of Kenya and Tanzania. The seminomadic people who live there are known for extravagant jewelry and colorful clothing; Phung added dangling earrings and necklaces, all in silver, made with thin chains and small medallions.
Elements of pointillism, applied through embroidery, produced a stunner — a long, wrap dress with dark blue and autumn accents.
The segues were a bit challenging — the show ended with pieces plucked from the archives to mark the house’s 60th anniversary — floral prints in powdery pastels.
But that also drove home the point: the house needs more than archives — as lovely as they can be — to secure its future. It’s a lot to tackle the forms and patterns, especially given the house’s legacy in prints, but Phung is building a persuasive offer.