NEW YORK — The French just know how to do fashion.
While most New York Fashion Week shows have nice production values, they lack the razzle dazzle of a Paris catwalk excursion. But French designer Sophie Theallet brought a dash of Paris to New York with an Africa beat in a thrilling rooftop runway show that showcased her glorious spring 2016 collection.
While not a household name, Theallet is admired by fashion insiders for creating womanly clothes with a touch of flash. She was scheduled to show her collection at Fashion Houston a couple of years ago, but had to cancel at the last minute due to a family illness in France. She's likely to be rediscovered as Elizabeth Anthony is carrying her line, and I'm betting that fashion-forward Houstonians will be intrigued.
Jaded fashion writers immediately perked up upon arriving at the top of a 10-story warehouse near Hudson Yards, where a troupe of Senegalese drummers played with such enthusiasm in the outdoor setting that onlookers were tempted to jump up and dance. As the band drummed, Theallet sent out models dressed in her African-tinged designs along a dirt runway.
Among her intriguing looks were a tribal print jumpsuit with a dramatic floating cape, dresses of lace that look like snakeskin, cinched at the waist with a raffia woven silk belt, halter-neck gowns with tiers of feathers and sheer lattice-patterned slacks.
And in a refreshing twist from the usual runway show, more than half of the models were African-American or Asian and one full-figured model, Candice Huffine, rocked a sheer black lace jumpsuit in a fresh new way.
At the end of the show, the band kept playing as guests celebrated the sexy, yet powerful collection, reluctant to head back to the mundane world below.