In a room full of art, I’d still always stare at you.
It seems that I stumbled upon a wonderland that conjured an era of whimsy back to life. A mix of entering an enchanted house, complete with tiled floors and steps and florals and spells, this was perhaps a notch above scenography from recent inhalations.
Last season, Alice + Olivia showcased a fantastic journey of east meets west with a glorious, colorful and cosmopolitan collection inspired by Salman Rushdie‘s novel “The Enchantress of Florence”, drawing from the rich Mughal India settings and romanticism of Renaissance Florence. Previously, Stacey Bendet captured an Alice in Wonderland style theme inspired by the Bomarzo gardens, often called the Park of Monsters (Parco dei Mostri), with a 16th century charm of goth and beauty. This time at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), she reimagined the version of the Chelsea Hotel, akin to another hotel inspired travel collection, making it a storied space for female contemporary artists. The set was thus a collection of the rooms you would find in the luxury suite of a hotel, where scenography artists and print designers turned to travel and interiors to relay the story. Different artists set up different spaces, which contributed to the moods. I had myself perched amongst some models with my red Giorgio Brutini footwear, Alice + Olivia matching red glasses, and a pair of leopard Roberto Cavalli pants with a Tom Ford draped blazer, essentially fitting the theme well.
Tallulah Willis took care of the dinette, where the colors of the satins and silks were inspired by the monochromatic neon drawings. These were bold and bright colors, with flared trousers and draped jackets making a comeback. The lilac satin asymmetric dress with a draped jacket was a standout, as well as a bold yellow oversized 2-piece suit with a long jacket and flared pants, paying homage to the retro ages.
Jemimia Kirke and Susie Lopez were in charge of the sitting room, with white jumpsuits and dresses in rawsilks and tougher fabrics that contrasted with the brightly hued painted flowers. Having the same exact print for dresses, trousers, blazers, jackets and even varsity tops was a clever idea, an optical illusion of sorts that worked as an all round outfit, as well as giving countless ideas for mixing and matching.
Lucy Sparrow headed the art of the kitchen, which was one of my favorite rooms courtesy of the food connection. The artist’s retro and bodega deli view of food items ensured the creation of funky accessories and purses in beaded and bejeweled finery, replicating food staples like cereal boxes! A favorite (and new motto) tee had a rainbow print of “The World Needs More Sparkle”, paired with a gorgeous denim drape jacket. A beautiful dress akin to the goddesses of last season had immaculate beading and embroidery, matched with another tongue-in-cheek beaded clutch reading “Sugar Babies”. The overall joys of embroidered denim capris with floral jackets made this one of the happiest places in this luxury suite!
Blair Z was the art inspiration for the bedroom, with ruffles and florals in monochromatic hues gracing the lucid state of the bedroom, with walls adorned by paintings and Stacey Bendet‘s own logo face. A pale blue ruffled dress with a studded and sequined bustier was in contrast to the floral dresses.
Angelica Hicks was the bathroom inspiration, with the wallpapers inspired from her ‘palm boobies’ drawing, and with the models graced in palm leaves and greens. The baby pink dress which matched the shower curtain was speckled with palm motifs, and paired well with a juxtaposed snake leather jacket. Which in turn had a matching skirt on another model with a sheer pink shirt for a more corporate look. The pink floral suit with exaggerated bell ruffled wide leg cutoffs was a stellar homage to the retro years, with matching eyewear. Leaving the two bathers clad in palm prints that were well suited for a villa vacation.
Lola Schnabel was in the living room, set up in a vintage floral style, with petal-less flowers gracing the sheer chiffon dresses. A baby blue silk shorts-suit with bird motifs was a clear standout. The dresses and shirts in flowing fabrics of deep pink and white were poised to be clear sellouts for summery styles.
Scout Willis took care of the music room, with black and white florals and stripes. These were summery dresses, with ruffled ends in their fabrics, varying lengths, and a sharply cut capri with an asymmetric wide shoulder shirt, perhaps catering to the women who preferred less hues in their outfits, quite a contrast to the explosions of color in the rest of the collection.
Francesca DiMattio was in the foyer, where the artist’s collages served up a mix of prints and florals. As this was the largest area of the hotel landscape, it had the most variety, from sequined blazers and tops with tassel dresses in rainbow prints to a collection of gypsy fabric loose cut crinkle fabric prints in varying styles. The rear of the foyer had more women in sequined dresses, dressed for the night with floral embroidery, or a nod to fantasy with an emerald city vibe. As well as a sprawling of chiffon and georgette clad floral damsels in the garden area, wrapping up the entire hotel experience.
It was evident that Bendet had put in much thought to conjure up a romantic and edgy collection that drew the likes of Demi Moore and Paris Hilton to her show to celebrate the re-envisioning of the Chelsea Hotel. With an homage to romantic maximalism, elevated greatly by the impeccable set design, this was truly a lesson in weaving dream sequences, and a tribute to one of my favorite things: luxury travel.