Fashion Week February 2014: Jill Stuart

February 12 2014

This past weekend, I had the opportunity and great good fun to attend Jill Stuart’s Fall 2014 fashion show at the tents in Lincoln Center. In reality, going to the tents is nothing like Project Runway, kids. It’s a fairly straightforward experience, with the audience sitting in a dark space constructed with a kind of ad hoc feeling, bleachers, and a white runway. The difference from one show to the next is in the music, the hair and make-up and of course, the clothes.


Jill Stuart is known for her feminine dresses, and she has been selling them successfully for quite a long time. She was born into a fashion family and immersed in the fashion world from a young age, and amazingly sold her first jewelry collection to Bloomingdales at age fifteen. Along with five hundred other retail outlets, she still sells there today, and even created an exclusive collection for Bloomies for the 2013 holiday season. Interestingly enough, one of her earliest collections was heavily featured in “Clueless,” a film that was infused with the upscale, girly, socially exclusive and fun clothing worn by Alicia Silverstone and her faux friends.


Going into the show, my impression of her Jill Stuart's design aesthetic was girly, easy to wear, and middle-of-the-road. I was wildly surprised to see magnificently detailed dresses hit the runway, with a feeling of incredible modernity in cut and embellishments. For the first time, I became a believer. In her press handout card, the collection was framed as being: irregular beauty, untameable, easy, boyish, effortless, unimpressionable and adorned. From a brand perspective, I understand this particular collection as being easy and effortless (which are in fact identical brand attributes), adorned (a capability rather than an attribute) and boyish in that the shapes of the clothes were quite angular and clean. Does it follow my impression of the brand as a whole? A qualified yes. And in fashion, is that enough? Again, a qualified yes!

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