The last show I attended for NY Fashion Week Fall/Winter '09 was also one of the best. Leanne Marshall, who won Season 5 of Project Runway (the last one to be filmed in NYC and perhaps the last one we'll see on television for awhile...), staged a presentation in a tiny space on way West 39th Street. Packed to the gills for the entire two hours of the presentation, there was an outpouring not only of NY's fashion elite who wanted to see what genius Leanne had drummed up post-Runway, but her former fellow contestants and even contestants from the previous season all came out to support her...Suede, Stella Zotis, Jerrell Scott, Korto Momolu, Jack Mackenroth, Kevin Christiana, Kit Pistol and more. Leanne even tapped into Project Runway further, hiring Nathan Johnson as her head make-up artist (Nathan has been a make-up artist on the show for numerous seasons).
But let's get to the (AMAZING!) fashion. Leanne gave us one look of perfection after another, which she somehow managed to design and create in just three weeks! I had the pleasure of interviewing Leanne on-camera for a Fashion Week special for SheZoom.com, and she told me about how quickly she pulled together this collection. To everyone there, she could have told us she worked on it for a year and we would have believed her. Leanne also talked about her recent move to New York City as her main inspiration for the collection...the shape of the buildings, the image of the skyline, and the glamour and high-fashion associated with "NYC."
With a simple yet perfectly balanced color palette of black, grey, bronze, purple and lilac, Leanne used satin, wool, organza and more to create the tightly edited, texturized collection. There were long and short dresses, jackets & coats, and each look was somehow directly connected to the next, creating a great sense of cohesion. You could see her skyline inspiration in so many of the pieces...architectural folds and pleating on bodices, interesting collars on jackets, a huge circle skirt on a beautiful grey coat that was beyond 3-dimensional. My personal favorites were a long dark purple satin gown with a bustier top and draped skirt that added depth but not bulk, a short lilac dress with a chiffon bodice and laser-cut organza skirt whose movement, even standing still on a pedestal, was breathtaking, and an outfit created from a pale grey wool top with folds along the neckline paired with a woven bronze skirt with the same draping as the purple gown.
With a brilliant first collection after Project Runway from a brilliant designer, Leanne Marshall is well on her way to making a serious mark on the New York fashion scene.