Anaïs Mak captured the coming-of-age vibe she was after. Tucked into plush sofas ringing the runway, guests waited under the dimmed red lights of the club’s low ceilings, the carpet’s skull-and-flower pattern barely discernible.
But when the lights snapped on and the sentimental saxophone riff streamed out — George Michael’s “Careless Whisper,” what else? — the audience was thrust into her bedroom, or wherever she had a full-length mirror, some privacy and a closet stuffed with possibilities.
“I think the girl is exploring maturing,” said Mak, the Hong Kong-born and -based designer whose label is called Anaïs Jourden. “You see a slight ‘Lolita’ influence in the collection,” she added.
The models wore mostly dresses, occasionally with a trail of ruffles, often in a bias cut and strapless at times — one had lacing between the breasts. Wearing stiletto Barbie heels — patent leather with a puff of fake fur, no straps to secure an ankle — some teetered, while others strutted confidently, hair tied up in a tussled ponytail.
“We used to rely heavily on textures and volume,” said Mak, noting the aim was ease and fluidity this time. Speaking before the show, she pointed to a pencil-shaped dress made from cotton treated for a wrinkled effect, to which she added elastic for asymmetry and volume, rendering it more “body-conscious.” It was accompanied on the runway by a beaded crystal cat, made in collaboration with Swarovski and held by the tail, dangling like a handbag.
Ultrathin fabrics were meant to channel naivety, while, given the venue, Mak also thought about showgirls.
The sheer black catsuit with white spots, a tailored nude-colored suit covered in red netting, or perhaps a shimmery pastel mintskirt and jacket might do, but the dress with the sailor-style cape and bow knotted in the front, one of the more interesting cuts, reflected a demure attitude.
It was a delightful outing with a number of convincing silhouettes, served up in good humor and leaving a lasting impression.