Twenty-five years in business. It’s a major milestone in any industry and in life, let alone the ever-changing fashion landscape. Jill Stuart marked this momentous occasion with a runway filled with her greatest hits — ethereal florals, romantic dresses — toughened up with an eclectic sensibility for modern day.
She poured through her archives in a manner of self-reflection, taking some of her key designs and reimagining them for today. She also reunited with Tasha Tilberg, the face of her first campaign in the early Nineties, for a photo exhibition of the model wearing current product. The images looked incredible, showing the cross-generational appeal inherent in Stuart’s clothes.
With an illustrious career spanning the years, what defines her customer? The range of front-row celebrities including Chloë Sevigny, Devon Windsor, Carol Alt and Jaime King (who walked the designer’s first shows) would suggest an ageless mix of women looking for classic notions of upbeat femininity.
Spring was inspired by a botanical garden (surprise!). She showed a variety of garden blooms on her signature ethereal dresses, sheer lightweight blouses and trousers. What set the eclectic tone was her stylistic choices — layering the aforementioned dresses over ribbed knit dresses or bodysuits, floral nylon over cotton poplin floral pants and knitwear, or blouses under delicate lace and stripes for a mashup of cool pattern play. Understanding that women are more adventurous with their sartorial choices today, she used sheer polka dots as a quirky layering tool, while striped shirting and patent leather countered the feminine signatures. In a show about the power of femininity, Stuart was eager to collaborate with young female designers, including Lady Grey, who provided jewelry and Zana Bayne, who made the structured leather belts.