Just two years ago, Alessandra Rich’s collection felt like the best-kept secret on the Paris circuit. She showed her collection of delightfully gaudy dresses — so tongue-in-cheek, they were chic — by appointment in quiet hotel rooms off the beaten path. But things change in the blink of an eye. In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before the influencers swarmed. Her brand of showy, Instagram-ready and fun fashion is like a beacon for these girls, whom Rich has embraced wholeheartedly. She went beyond dressing them and had them walk her spring show, which opened with the sparrowlike Caroline Daur and closed with bombshell Caroline Vreeland, a descendent of Diana Vreeland, who looks like a closer relation of Anna Nicole Smith.
The collection was a giddy send-up of Eighties bourgeois yacht culture, the tony stuffiness of it rocked by a tide of tacky. Polka-dot shirtdresses with big collars had outsize pearl buttons. A shiny marine striped blazer was worn as a minidress. A sheer black lace dress with rhinestone sailor toggles was worn over a black bikini. It was all accessorized to the chintzy nines with giant pearl and rhinestone earrings and bracelets and big satin headbands. In the right hands, Rich’s stuff is stylishly daffy. On the wrong ones, it can quickly turn tawdry. Between the audience of ardent fans and clients at her spring show and the casting, there were plenty of examples of both.