Early this morning, models again graced the runway for the very last day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week during the J. Mendel Spring/Summer 2011 show. It was a delicate and dainty display of couture that didn’t necessarily match the “Bittersweet Symphony” remix playing in the background. The show may have more fittingly been set to a classical number from “Swan Lake” or, even more appropriately, music from “Call Me Ben,” the New York City Ballet show that featured costumes designed by Gilles Mendel.
Mendel used the ballet as inspiration for this season’s collection, of which he says, “It is an airy and easy look that is infused with modern femininity and a balletic twist” and with the “idea of a dancer in motion.” Even the shoes he chose for the show fit in perfectly with Mendel’s vision — ballerina-style wedges that tied up the ankles. His resort 2011 collection lookbook that is currently on the J. Mendel website was shot with a ballet barre in the background, so it’s no surprise that Mendel evolved to this with his upcoming collection.
Flowing dresses and skirts made of silky draped chiffon and lightweight, pleated jersey gracefully flowed down the runway with delicate ribbons that secured the waistlines. The styles were reminiscent of those from the late Madame Grès, the infamous haute couture designer from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s known for creating body-skimming dresses in draping fabrics like silk jersey.
Dark nudes, ice gray and pearly white were the prominent shades of the collection, keeping the looks soft and simple. The only bright shade was a bold peach that artfully matched the ballet shoes and lipstick. The pieces were carefully designed to create texture and movement despite their lack of color. Mendel also created several fur pieces made from Tibetan lamb and shadow fox that were hand-dyed to match the look they complemented. The styles that didn’t feature fur showed off a backless design or a sheer nude that conveyed a backless illusion.
The show was spectacular overall, though it seemed only natural that the models would have been doing plies and pirouettes down the runway. Perhaps they were twirling backstage.
To view more photos from the front row of the J. Mendel Spring/Summer 2011 Runway Show, visit Haute Living’s Events Gallery.