On Valentine's Day afternoon, I excitedly headed to the Union Square Ballroom to see my friend, the amazingly talented and Project Runway Season 5 winner Leanne Marhsall, present her Fall/Winter 2010 collection. And once again, Leanne definitely didn't disappoint...and in fact, she actually outdid herself, branching out into a more varied collection with interesting separates, intricate detailing, and one of the best finale dresses in all of fashion week.
As at all of Leanne's shows, there was an instant feeling of excitement and comraderie as soon as you walked into the venue. We all were having so much fun before the show even started that people had to be ushered into their seats. I think that says something for the vibe Leanne gives off as a designer...she is enveloping, collaborative and while her designs are cerebral and thoughtful, they are also warm and inviting and make you want to reach out and touch them. On that "collaborative" note - Project Runway alum Suede was backstage helping Leanne, Project Runway make-up artist Nathan Johnson outdid himself yet again with the gorgeous make-up for the show, and members of the current and past Project Runway casts were sitting in the front row with me.
Now, onto the good stuff. Leanne kept true to her aesthetic with exquisitely tailored pieces that moved beautifully and relayed a very distinct point-of-view. A color palette of black, grey, cream, blue, and bursts of bright yellow was well thought-out and never boring. Separates made an appearance (including gorgeous knits, high-fashion coats and smart blouses) alongside Leanne's famous dresses (short or evening-gown-length, they are always show-stoppers). Unexpected fabrics (like a super light-weight wool felt) came down the runway in even more unexpected forms like a short dress with hyper-volume of layer after layer of laser-cut skirts. These garments were truly pieces of art, but still wearable and covetable by any woman.Tops and toned-down day dresses also echoed the look of those cut-outs, creating subtlely unconventional details. And that finale dress? In a gorgeous medium blue silk, its high neckline and long skirt belied the sexy, diamond-shaped, completely cut-out back, and its floaty, weightless floral appliques were pure Leanne. And it was, without a doubt, one of my personal favorite pieces from the entire week...