Though not explicitly evocative of the dirty classic New York groove, Samantha Pleet's clothes are the perfect combination of girly and rough-and-tumble. Her style directive involves the flounce of a woodland elf without being overly delicate or perishable, unlike some other designers channeling forest nymphs these days (heads up, Erin Featherston). In it's eighth season, her line has already established itself as the costumer of the indie-elite, but somehow manages not to offend those of us on the anti-side of quirky. I was lucky enough to hang in the dressing room with Pleet and her girls while they got ready for her SS 2010 presentation.
Up-close and personal, her newest collection has the familiar plucky resilience from past seasons, channeling multiple decades without feeling confused. Blending the 1940s and the 1980s into a WWII pin-up turned party princess sounds like a potential Juicy Couture disaster but it works in this great "Oh my God, I want to wear everything" sort of way. It feels light, current, and most importantly wearable, something I firmly appreciate in the gauze-filled sea of silks and snags that women's fashion can turn into. These are party dresses for the type of party I want to go to. They look good with bad tattoos.
Pleet herself is just the sort of snappy adorable nymph you'd expect her to be. With an Urban Outfitters collaboration under her belt (something that seems to be fast becoming a rite of passage, for better or for worse, for emerging mid-range designers of our generation) and a slot on the roster of the fast-rising Parlor Showroom she is far from an unknown. Still she seems to land in the category of a niche designer with a selective list of stockists. Hopefully this spring will signal a change.
I was especially stoked to see the newest articulations of the rompers she is best known for. A poppy-colored button-front number begged me to swipe it from the hanging rack, although lord knows my ass will not fit in a sample-size. Still, her clothes are not exclusively for the tiny. Instead of models she clad friends in the looks chosen for the showing, more of a wise sales move than a political one. They looked good on everyone, from the itty-bitty Asian girl modeling the burdgundy version of the romper I so coveted to my enviably busty buddy rocking a jumpsuit. Of course "real girls" is always relative in New York City and Pleet just happens to run with an uncommonly attractive crew, making the decision to use mostly non-professionals an extra easy one.
One nice thing about being around before the final styling decisions were made is that I got to see some of the clothes that didn't get used in action, like this white dress.
Pleet grabbing a change of clothes for one of the girls.
A couple of the girls waiting for accessories. The blonde looks like she belongs on the nose of a WWII bomber plane.
The jewelry in the show was major and the girl in the woven top guarding it was intense. The stylist, Turner, was missing a tooth. I didn't ask her why.
After I'd been there for 20 minutes my friend Carlen peeked out from behind the not-so-private changing curtain. She ended up dressed like a Grecian disco goddess out for her daily jog. It's way better than it sounds. As each girl finished getting ready they were escorted up to the event room where a far-more-professional photographer, David Black, took pictures to accompany the look book and film he shot for this season's collection. The event was supposed to be outdoors but was forced inside by the insistent Fashion Week rain (why does it always rain this week?). The set-up was magical, a makeshift garden party with warm lighting, although the vibes got harried due to the tweakish staff at the Soho Grand. Seriously, is everyone in the hotel industry that cracked out all the time?
It's so easy taking behind-the-scenes photos of a photo shoot. Someone else sets up the shots and you just stand behind them, make sure you don't cast a shadow, and poach shots.
I sincerely wish I'd gotten a better picture of this romper, if I somehow get my grubby paws on this next summer I'll wear it ever day. Hell, I'd wear it this winter with tights.
All lined up, they looked like a gaggle of beach beauties prepared for a multi-era talent competition I'd kill to judge. The romper on the far left is the one I covet so dearly. Have I mentioned it enough yet?
Once the showing officially started the vibe got more relaxed and champagney.
Here's another gratuitous shot of cute girls in rad clothes.
The proud designer with her flock
Tavi, the most famous 13-year-old in the fashion world and Pop magazine cover girl, showed up. (That's her in the shadows on the left.) There is nothing more frustrating than being shown up by an adolescent. I wish blogging would land me on the cover of a magazine...OK, maybe not. But seriously, my job is her hobby and I'm sure as hell not getting any Rodarte front-row invites. I guess it's not very impressive when you are twice her age. She's the tiny person on left in the tie-dye tights. Also, it's like the girl in the tiara can tell how much I want that outfit. She's taunting me!