NEW YORK — Maybe it was the catwalk that looked like a movie set with lamp posts in strategically placed positions or the way model Anna Cleveland (daughter of iconic '70s model Pat Cleveland) dramatically walked the runway in a lace turtleneck trumpet gown and matching hat, while holding the hem in her hand, but the Christian Siriano fall collection sure had a My Fair Lady feeling to it.
Actually, smoky black-and-white photos of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn taken by husbands Fernand Fonssagrives and Irving Penn provided the glamorous vintage mood of the fall collection, Siriano said. Vogue has called Fonssagrives-Penn, the premier model of the 1940s, "one of the most elegant women ever to wear a dress."
Smoky black-and-white photos of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, "one of the most elegant women ever to wear a dress," provided the glamorous vintage mood.
In paying tribute to her style, Siriano's fall collection also evoked Dior's New Look with dresses nipped at the waist, tea-length skirts, jackets with soft shoulders, nighttime trousers with shiny tunic blouses, and fabulous hats designed by Heather Huey.
Also in line with current runway trends for fall: capes and oversized coats in furry knits in shades of sage green and orchid. "Stay warm and look good" seems to be the designer motto from this fashion week.
Designers also seem to be taking their cues from the upcoming exhibitions of the work of famed couture designer Charles James at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Menil Collection, for there's a polished, sophisticated attitude to many of the fall collections. Though only 28, Siriano seems to have an old soul that appreciates fashion history and accepts the challenge of updating vintage looks for the modern era that are flattering to the figure and wearable.
His evening wear features some eye-catching options, including a chiffon and feather cape coat with crepe trouser, a strapless ball gown in a glossy silk marble print, a body-hugging black panel gown and a long sleeve-high neck gown that covers the body but still looks sexy and alluring.
Houston photographer Jay Marroquin, who has been the house photographer for Siriano for four seasons, showcased the collection in the striking photographs shown above. Marroquin met Siriano when he showed his collection at the first Fashion Houston in 2010. He got to know the Siriano team better through Houston hairstylist Dennis Clendennen, who as one of the lead hairstylists for Aveda has been a major fashion week regular since 2002.
"What caught my eye this season was the use of very beautiful fabrics on classic designs. The whole show had a beautiful Paris vibe with the street lamps adorning the runway," Marroquin said in an email. "The girls walking in a square pattern this time was also a welcome change from the traditional runway layout.
"At the end of the show, all the models came out and positioned themselves next to and in between the faux gas lamps."