This morning was Michael Vollbracht's second show as head of design for the house of Bill Blass. I really wanted to see something great, and I tried desperately to like it but let's just say that based on what I saw and the comments I heard from others, I would be very surprised if he continues on in this position for much longer.
The clothes fell flat, looked matronly and as if they had been lifted from Bill's past archives (and unfortunately, not even the best pieces). And from where I was sitting, many of the items looked no different than offerings from moderate price houses like Ellen Tracy and Dana Buchman. In a season marked by texture mixes and eclectic luxury, there were so many different ways Michael could have used the Blass name and history and really run with it - but he didn't. The uninspired suits, puzzling prints, and lackluster evening started to look repetitive and became boring really fast.
Michael's use of 'old time' models (who still look great by the way) like Chris Royer and Pat Cleveland- while fun the first time around and completely understandable since it was his launch- was a big mistake this time in my opinion. He would have been wise to go with a younger, less identifiable group. Quite frankly, Pat Cleveland, with her highly energetic runway theatrics, began to grate on my nerves- I felt like saying, "okay- enough already."
I was looking across the runway at Cathy Horyn who did not look terribly amused and who never lifted her pen once during the show. I don't mean to speak for her- mind you - but that was my observation. And when I questioned others, many shared my sentiments. At one point, I could almost 'hear' people smirking when a black and white dotted ostrich feather clutch coat that resembled 'big bird' worn over a black and white polka dot skirt came out.
One of the recurring soundtracks that kept playing during the show repeated the phrase: "somethings goin' on...." Unfortunately, it wasn't "going on" on this particular runway.