If fashion is art, then Laurel DeWitt is Vincent Van Gogh, which makes her Spring/Summer 2016 collection her “Starry Night.” For several seasons, DeWitt has captivated her audiences with her avant-garde metallic couture at New York Fashion Week. She describes her work as “wearable, elegant clothing with metal at its core.” Her apparel and accessories are so breathtaking that they have been worn by A-listers like Nicki Minaj, Khloe Kardashian, and Amber Rose in that infamous VMAs dress. DeWitt presented her Spring 2016 line on September 13 at The Church of the Holy Apostles in collaboration with the style team of 4Season Style Management, led by creative consultant Lisa Smith Craig.
The divine-inspired venue came as no surprise to guests who attended her Fall/Winter 2015 show back in February at the same location. Surrounded by extravagant columns that lead to a theatrical platform, the structure of the church allowed DeWitt to create an exceptional representation of her brand. Attendees were instantly drawn to the outskirts of the seating areas, where individual, very intricate headpieces and accessories were masterfully displayed. For Spring 2016, DeWitt was inspired by the iconic couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, which seems like a design match made in heaven. Schiaparelli was instrumental in leading the new age of fashion and style in the 1920s and 30s. She worked closely with renowned artist Salvador Dalí and dressed some of history’s most famous women, which included American actress Greta Barbo and Spanish tennis champion Lily d’Alvarez, the first woman to wear shorts at the Wimbledon championships.
DeWitt expresses a similarly fearless approach to her work as Schiaparelli, especially in her Spring 2016 collection. Her signature metal appliqué had its usually entrancing effect, especially on a pair of multi-colored leather wrap shorts and a fierce chain bra that was layered underneath a gorgeous floral bolero. DeWitt took a unique approach to the spring floral motif in this collection by incorporating hand-cut, rolled, and painted metal flowers into most of the looks, which she describes as “heirlooms for life.” The meticulous attention to the floral details juxtaposed with her already inspired metal designs created a refreshingly vibrant collection of pieces. Throughout the show were many “companion pieces” from handbag and dress brands like Blackbird Dillinger and Diana Mahrach as well as major shoe brands like Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin, but the highlights of the show were all of DeWitt’s imaginative creations.
It is common to spot a celebrity model or two in DeWitt’s lavish shows. Amber Rose walked in the Fall/Winter 2015 show and Kasseem Dean, Jr., son of mega producer Swizz Beatz, makes regular appearances on her runways. In the Spring 2016 show, transgender top model Carmen Carrera featured a structured floral bra with a glamorous chain maxi skirt. This marked Carrera’s very first appearance in an all-female runway show. Rayuana Aleyce, the model winner of Project Runway Season 12, delivered a graceful finale runway walk in one of the most daring ensembles of the collection. Along with a rose waist cincher and an impeccable neck corset, Aleyce displayed an extravagntly curved skirt with tulip appliqué in which only a truly professional model could walk. As the reigning queen of Laurel DeWitt finale looks, a flower crown was only correct to complete her look.
DeWitt always delivers such an exotic vision full of artistic allure that is reminiscent of the confidence of Cleopatra. Her floral infusion into the Spring 2016 collection not only reinvigorated that vision, but it proved her versatility as an already atypical designer. There may not have been a usual Sunday sermon, but DeWitt made her message loud and clear.
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