Fashion Week Spring 2012 – J. Mendel

I’m always interested in the synergy between different design venues, so I was very curious when Gilles Mendel cited Dorothy Draper as his inspiration for his Spring 2012 collection. “I approached my collection much like the way Ms. Draper approached designing a grand space. I combined the bold with the elegant to make easy sensual clothing that would suit the chic lifestyle of my clients.” And chic they are indeed. Sitting across from me were Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, whose The Row collection is one of my favorites.

The show started with an obvious nod to Draper’s strong contrasting interiors, such as her 1954 design for the Essex Hotel in New York.

Known for his sensuous draping and clean tailored lines, this season saw the addition of bright geometric prints and bold colors.

runway photos above Alessandro Viero /

The flow in action! Many of these dresses are for those monogamously wedded to their exercise routine (ie – no cheating!). With hip high slits and loose but suggestive draping, there is no hiding here. I’m sure the long dresses will be very popular on the red carpet. They are elegant and feminine with a modern aesthetic.

The second half of the show felt more Elsie de Wolfe than Dorothy Draper. The ethereal white palate was a dreamy confection including silk georgette, flowing viscose chiffon and layered silk mousseline. And of course it wouldn’t be a J. Mendel collection without some fur.

Above, a raccoon, fox and goat jacket over a silk top and flowing crepe pleated pant.

Or an open back bolero over silk shell and silk pleated skirt with apron detail.

The gowns were diaphanous delights. My favorite was this multi-toned silk georgette number.

To me this dress was an updated version of 40s glamour, which is where Gilles Mendel was headed with this collection – to “reinterpret the old world glamour of regency style into a modern fashion aesthetic.” Some pieces expressed this better than others. Here are a couple shots of my view of the finale.

I will definitely be looking forward to his fall collection, where he has better opportunity to make use of his specialty. This fall there was a fur jacket with leather sleeves that I was drooling over. In the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for some of the gowns come Oscar time.

16 thoughts on “Fashion Week Spring 2012 – J. Mendel

  1. What a fabulous show! Isn’t it interesting how fashion and interiors are almost synonymous these days? I always knew they influenced one another, but Mendel’s reference as far as inspiration was interesting.
    And please don’t hate me, but I love the Olsen gals. I never knew how they made their money in TV, but I think they are having a great time spending it. I also think their line is pretty terrific.

  2. As per the norm with me, I prefer the neutrals – very nice. My favorite though, was your line “monogamously wedded to their exercise routine” HA HA. I’m afraid I am not monogamous in this regard :)

  3. Q! It was so much fun spendig the day with you at the tents. Thank you for shedding some light on the Dorothy Draper reference…she was completely unfamiliar to me. This was a hard collection to catch on film. Even when I reviewed the show slides on, I thought it was much prettier in person.
    Can’t wait to see your Chado Ralph Rucci post. I still cant get those clothes out of my head!

  4. I’m with you LOVE the multi toned dress – now I really have to lay off the donuts (and win the Lottery!) I also adore the purple hi-slit sequined dress! This is why I love #NYFW so much eye candy!

  5. How fresh to see the strong graphic prints at J. Mendel this year. I’m particularly fond of the black, white and green paneled one. So pretty. The little fur shrugs and jackets are always to die for — I’m sure the fur jacket with leather sleeves was quite drool-worthy!
    Enjoy the weekend, Q!

  6. Oooooh, what lovely looks! We do share similar tastes in party frocks I think, Gilles Mendel *so* gets it when it comes to draping. Like you, I look forward to seeing some of these on the red carpet!

    Sending you a smile,

  7. Dorothy Draper AND the Olsens??? This is too much!! What a fabulous collection! I’m laughing hysterically at your reference to those “monogamously wedded to their exercise routine” – very clever. Obsessing over the dress pictured above. What a great show to see! xx Kelly

  8. What fun you must be having! The ‘Draper’ collection is just gorgeous…it does have a modern yet classic aesthetic to it, but then again so did her work…all very glamorous, and all so well executed!
    Thank you so much for sharing…
    xo J~

  9. This is one show I would love to attend, how fun that you took us there with you. My very favorite dress that I own is a J Mendel and it fits like a glove (well lately since I have gained some weight a very very snug This collection is elegant but not my favorite, I think however as an ode to Dorothy Draper it was well done and successful. Thank you for sharing!

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