Alessandra Rich always concocts a charmingly daffy story, usually of a young girl with big dreams and questionable taste, within which to frame her ditzy-fab dresses. For spring, it began with the iconic “V-J Day in Times Square” photo of a sailor impulsively kissing a nurse (she was actually a dental assistant) in celebration of the end of World War II. Rich had a new story for the nurse: “The young girl moved on, she still loves uniforms, matched with diamond brooches and huge jewel buttons, but now you’re going to have to fight to kiss her,” read the show notes, which were as fun and fanciful as the collection.
As the girl moved on, Rich did, too, expanding beyond her standard repertoire of glam, gauche dresses with military-inspired tailoring and posh but plucky tweeds. A blue admiral jacket was done with rhinestone buttons instead of brass and a cheekier — literally — version was cut just below the bum and worn as a dress. Although worn with geek-chic glasses with gold chain-link lanyards, Rich’s tweed jackets were more suited to a day at the pool than the library as they came in candy colors and were worn with HotPants.
The collection’s bread remained buttered with an array of dresses, including riffs on the nurse’s white dress, as well as Forties-cum-Eighties floral house dresses with cartoonish white spread collars, worn with plastic pastel purses. Rich is a pro at balancing the tacky and tactful, pairing fine fabrics and chic silhouettes with kitschy details. Every look winked, and made you smile.