Morphew Concept: The Fabric Of Their Lives

Want to know where Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, The Kooples, Current Elliot, Etro, and Alice + Olivia among others, get much of their inspiration from? Even if you don’t, I’ll tell you lol.Bridgette Morphew and Jason Lyon have one of the world’s most extensive fashion archives. Their New York based design consulting company, Paradox Vintage ( founded in 2005, is a premier source for trendsetting vintage prints, embellishments, and shapes concepts. Their enviable treasure trove of thousands of unique vintage pieces and approximately 6000 vintage prints, (culled from their world travels), have attracted over a thousand clients worldwide.

Morphew Concept Showroom

They are off to Paris to work with clients on Monday and will be there for two weeks. But on Friday, Morphew Concept,, founded in 2013, held their first ever fashion presentation in conjunction with NYFW.  It is steeped in rich historical concepts but tailored for today, merging antique textiles with a modern fit, and their designs are worn by such style influencers as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Miley Cyrus, Kendall Jenner, and Frances Bean Cobain.

The loo

The name Morphew (the founder’s real last name),  could not be more fitting even if it was made up, given that the word ‘morph’ comes from the Greek word ‘metamorphosis’ which means “a transforming”. What Bridgette and Jason have done is truly transformative: they take antique handcrafts from numerous ethnic cultures and vintage fabrics creating something which is brand new and contemporary.  Their fabulous bi level 2300 square foot loft located at 260 West 36th Street has been similarly transformed (new door, chandeliers, colorful vintage rugs) into a fitting showplace/event space. Even the high ceilinged, tiled, mirrored, chandeliered bathroom, with its exotic Moroccan accents, was changed into something magical and out of this world. (Really, how many times can you say you wouldn’t mind being locked inside a loo?)

Victorian lace dresses

The 20 piece collection they presented on mannequins on Friday  is unique (each piece is completely handmade). “Nobody’s doing this” effused Ms. Morphew. It had as its overall theme, “romantic wanderlust” which was exemplified by the group of dreamy tea/day/bridal dresses made of ivory Victorian lace from Ireland dating from the 1880’s to the 1930’s.

Eastern European and Indian sari duster dresses

Among the pieces that highlight the duo’s brilliance in mixing various cultures, ethnicities, periods and textiles: The group of duster coat/dresses that combine Eastern European, Indian sari and Victorian fabrics .

Colorful Eastern European apron with sequined fabric and 70’s lame chiffon

The dress that combines a colorful Eastern European apron with Mexican sequined fabric and 70’s lame chiffon.

Tulle dresses.

The 50’s tulle petticoat skirt from Central America combined with hand embroidered fabric from the 40’s and French Victorian trim and the 70’s tulle dress shown over an Indian skirt trimmed with French ribbon and belted with a 40’s Italian buckle.

Seminole Indian patchwork with 60’s beaded purse fabric layered over 30’s dresses

The Seminole Indian patchwork skirt combined with fabric from a 60’s beaded purse, layered over rebuilt dresses from the 30’s.

Vintage Chinese embroidered silk coat over vintage metal mesh dress

The dramatic vintage Chinese embroidered kimono coat shown over a 60’s chain metal mesh dress.

Vintage metal mesh dress

Another sexy, abbreviated body conscious metal mesh dress (or is it a top?) using vintage gold metal Whiting & Davis chainmail from the 60’s, had J.Lo’s name written on it, so it was not surprising to hear that they had already contacted her PR person and hope to send the dress for her approval. A similar version (on display upstairs) is being prepared for a Kim Kardashian fitting. At $6500 each, they are the most expensive pieces in the collection. Prices generally range from $688 – $3440 (as Bridgette put it, it’s “couture at a reasonable price”). Specialty retailers who have already picked up the line include Joan Shepp in Philadelphia and Jolie Boutique in California.

FYI, I initially met Ms. Morphew at the UBM Intermezzo Collections at the Javits Center in August. She, along with Peter Berta, Director, Accessorie Circuit/Intermezzo Collections, came up with the idea of adding vintage to the popular trade show. It was in response to retailers who craved something new and exciting. Ms. Morphew is a big believer that “if you can understand the past, you can predict the future trends and style movements”.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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