J. Mendel is known for collections with a romantic, feminine touch, and with French surrealist poet Robert Desnos’s My Siren as Gilles Mendel’s starting point, this resort season was no different. But the gentle pastel palette coral, mother of pearl, sea-foam blue that washed over many of his signature light, fluid chiffon dresses was grounded with a series of pieces decked out in contrasting black-and-white chevrons (a graphic pattern that recurs throughout Mendel’s fur coats season after season) and an ode, said the designer, to the nautical stripes associated with photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue’s vision of the 1930’s French Riviera.
Manolo Blahnik for J. Mendel
What may sound, on paper, like a clash of two worlds blended effortlessly together in fabric form. “I wanted to incorporate all the key codes of the house,” explained Mendel of the common link. “The geometric shapes, the draping, and I’m always inspired by Art Deco.” That often translated, rather simply, as strips of goat hair patchworked together in a singular colored jacket (for a subtle take on stripes) or a lambskin draped leather skirt, treated with the same malleable fragility as organza.
But resort is, after all, about travel and the holiday season, and there was plenty here for the J. Mendel woman to either pack up for a trip to Nice or slip into for an end-of-year party: a pale pink take on the cutout black number Taylor Swift stepped out in for this year’s Met Gala, for instance, or a dress, hand-painted with his aquatic references that at first seemed too flat, so was recut into stripes and draped to feel more voluminous. “Women appreciate that,” says Mendel of his tireless fine-tuning. “We make things the hard way, but it always feels easy in the end!”
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Photos: Courtesy of J. Mendel (via VOGUE)
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