Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos transported their guests to a glamorous far-off Polynesian fantasy for spring, staging their show in the tropical environs of Trader Vic’s tiki bar under the Hilton hotel on Park Lane, a descendant of the original Trader Vic’s, founded in the Thirties in California.
The setting imbued the collection with a tropical vibe, with a palette of joyously lurid tropical hues, from sunset peach to rainforest green, violet, fuchsia, royal and sky blues, acid yellow, seafoam, vermilion and marigold yellow — all shot through with flashes of gold and silver.
But the collection’s inspiration came via a less exotic source: the works of French Art Nouveau glass artist Émile Gallé, who made use of a miscellany of botanical forms in his sometimes iridescent or frosted floral patterns. The duo translated this source into a collection that was as sophisticated as it was fun.
There were hints of colonial splendor in touches like the frogging closure that fastened a sharply tailored striped pantsuit, the tassels that swung from rope belts around floral gowns or from pearl-encrusted bags, and in the twisting fez hats done in shimmering fabrics. There were nods to the silhouettes of the Thirties and Seventies, and predominantly long hemlines, but it never tipped into retro territory.
Among the standouts were a gold halter dress with a pleated frill cascading around the bodice; a pink and mauve orchid-print dress with big pearl buttons and cape sleeves cut to appear as if one was slipping off the shoulder, and a wonderfully camp ensemble in blush pink and acid green hammered satin, comprising a draped skirt and bodice wrapped to resemble a bikini — it was the kind of thing you could imagine Lola, of “Copacabana” fame, enjoying.