This youthful collection by designer Wenlan Chia brought a smile to the faces of most in attendance in the Salon at Bryant Park. The collection of casual separates and dresses was bold and playful, but the mood was witty and charmingly feminine.
While the sharp combinations of stripes and color gave the collection a graphic feel, the strongest statement was about pattern, both subtle and bold. Chia’s quirky, smart patterned silks were like 21st-century technologically-evolved florals, delicate and light. The variety was impressive — one like a modern paisley, a mash-up recalling alligator hide, leopard skin, marbled paper, feathers and low-tech computer printouts — while another combined colorful geometric elements over sky and cloud imagery, reminding us of the paintings of Joan Miro. A broken herringbone pattern of overlapping fine horizontal lines rendered in white with pink and gray added texture and visual interest to a deceptively-simple sleeveless dress and long-sleeved tunic. We also loved the colorful jagged-edged pattern that looked like a modern evolution of the fatigue print. While pattern-rich, these looks were controlled and well-balanced.
Loose drapey bias-cut knit sweaters and tunic tops glided over boldly patterned leggings, and the overall silhouette was easy and relaxed. Short dresses covered a wide variety of styles — with bold black banding used as wide shoulder straps or define the waist and shoulders, with coolly casual drawstring waists or trapeze-cut, with loose floating layers — yet each felt fresh and distinct.
With the whimsy and infectious playfulness exhibited in this collection, we got the feeling that donning any of these looks means instant fun for the wearer. — Julie Yee
Photos: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes Benz