March 1, 2012

New York Fashion Week- Chadwick Bell

Run of Show

KAMILA- Formula One Red Felted Wool Coat 
FATIMA- Cerulean Blue Trapunto Jersey Tee, Jade Trapunto Hem Jersey Slim Skirt 
FATIMA- Saigon Rose Printed Georgette Draped Shoulder Dress
MARIA- Midnight Wool and Silk Tucked Bodice Long Sleeve Dress and KAMILA- Black Wool Silk and Midnight Velvet Tux Dress 

As promised, here are a few images from the first show I attended this season at Lincoln Center. If there’s one thing to be said about the New York collections, it is that they are incredibly well produced. It’s always fascinating to see friends come to the collections for the first time with the belief that “New York is so commercial” only to have a more nuanced opinion by the week’s end. There’s a unique feel and perspective to each of the fashion weeks that’s valuable to our understanding of style in the larger sociopolitical context. 

Each season, there are a few shows that intrigue. For me, The Chadwick Bell show was one of those shows. There’s something refreshing about seeing a designer take that critical next step. From the moment my invitation arrived, I was anticipating attending this show for its craftsmanship. There’s a consistency to Chadwick Bell’s work, and a precision that I find compelling. Careful attention is paid to tailoring and fit, which so many designers are overlooking. The Autumn/Winter 2012 show did not disappoint. 

The show was titled Midnight Rose, and a previous engagement prevented me from attending the preview so, I had no preconceived notions of what to expect. The disclaimer on the wall notifying attendees that scent would be used during the show set the mood and trend for the week. The olfactory branding company 12.29 developed a subtle scent that brought incense, smoke and spice to mind. It’s remarkable how powerful scent is and the emotional responses it can evoke. This collection; was about romance and danger colliding. From the show’s notes, “She is a perfect woman in an imperfect situation. Her look is polished, rich, and refined, but she is dangerous.” While the clothes are demure, they evoked a sense of mystery and seduction.

There’s a duality to the Chadwick Bell woman that seems very real. There’s a clear tension between; masculine and feminine, embellishment and utilitarian, our perceived notion of power and vulnerability. These clothes are incredibly luxurious utilizing fur, feathers, leather gold jacquards and wonderful brocades. The fabrics and embroidery are superb. 

There are some obvious standouts for me: 
  • The long gloves by Carolina Amato (I’m having a Lanvin long glove moment, as of late). 
  • The cocodrillo jacquard and melton wool coat with matador embroidery (look 26) that feels like a modern take on the breathtaking riding ensembles I saw here
  • The timeless tux re-imagined. (look 27)
  • Casting by the brilliant Bethann Hardison, who always puts together a multicultural cast of models who bring such personality to the runway
  • Hair that takes inspiration from falling asleep in a cab. I’m guilty of this when exhausted. 
What stood out most is the notion of beauty in imperfection. Who doesn’t need to be reminded that imperfections are so beautiful? 

* PS- A warm thank you to Jackie Smith at UFCG 


  1. YAY to your NY Fashion Week posting, Lindsay! Your photos are awesome as usual. And Congrats to your 1 year anniversary of Un Petit Bijou blog! Looking forward to more fashion tips, pretty pics and inspiration. ♥

    1. Tricia- Thank you!

      Yes, March 1st was one year of the blog being "public" and the 100th post. Yay!

  2. this is such a simple but also beautiful collection. thanks for the introduction to a new (to me) designer!

    1. Joy- You're welcome. It's always rewarding to learn about new things:)

      Hmm these days I'm so confused about "simplicity." Precision, cutting and draping are so hard to get right, but when they are it looks simple and really beauty.

  3. Lindsay, thank you for sharing. This is the first time I've heard of Chadwick Bell. His clothes are sophisticated, elegant and feminine - just like you!

  4. Chocolate, Cookies & Candies-Oh gosh! You're too sweet- thank you.

    It's so nice to see sophisticated, elegant clothes that are well made on the runway. There were so many gorgeous things that I could see myself wearing.

  5. I love reading your blog. I come here, feel inspired and learn something new. I like the way you approached the Chadwick Bell show. I don't find many bloggers who come to the table with something new and are able to pull it a part. Perhaps they're too busy taking their picture in front of the show venue.

    These clothes are beautiful. Geez... You would look good in everything shown. I especially like the point made about diverse casting.

    1. Anonymous- Thank you! I try to look really critically at a show. It's the way you approach the ideas, concepts and yes the clothes themselves. I think what struck me was that there was a really clear vision of the woman who wears these clothes. I like a show that has some clarity and resolve when itm comes to presenting the ideas and coming up with beautiful, well made garments that fit with that.

      Yes, I think you're missing something if you're not looking at things like the casting. There's a lot to consider before the show and you're right, if you're busy consumed with yourself you miss the opportunity to look over the show notes and prepare yourself for what you're going to see.

      Such a gorgeous collection.

  6. Thank you for sharing - I love his designs, very clean and chic and wearable. I loved the floral dress as well as the black looks - such a cool opportunity to go and I love that they used scent!

    1. Katherine- You're welcome. Yes, love the clean lines. I have my eye on that floral dress. I'm already picturing it blowing gently in the wind. I could have pried it off the model;)

      The use of scent really added something. It makes me realize how intune to smell I am.

  7. Love all of that BIG BIG teased out HAIR!

    Use of Scent is an interesting way to enhance a show experience. Your post made me think of all the perfume I have been attracted to over the years and now that I think of it, I've always purchased one kind of scent--never spicy/earthy--more florals, etc. [Chanel Chance, Burberry Brit, Bvlgari Black, D&G somethingorother, Jo Malone randomness, Gucci Flora nd Gucci Guilty, historically]. This show would've really had my attention in an interesting way. I bet it contributed significantly to the shows demure-ishness!!!

    PS, I have you to blame for my recent infatuation with Into The's oh so good! Thanks!

    1. Speck- The big, messy, just woke up hair is so essential to not making the looks too precious. I love it because too put together or "perfect" just feels wrong. It's more modern this way.

      It's so interesting to see which scents we are attracted to and the associations we have to scent. I like the scents you've named:) I'm not one for spicy or earthy but the spicy moody scent at the show added to that are of mystery that I loved. You're so right it added to the demure-ishness and made it a bit subversive.

      Into the Gloss- oh gosh. It's so funny, I won't look at it for a bit and then I'll go on a beauty rampage. It's very hard to tear yourself away.