Jill Stuart F/W 2015
Jill Stuart F/W 2015 Photo credit: Regis Colin

Saturdays are always a bit lighter around the tents for NYFW, and perhaps a bit more so today given that Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of things. The more popular shows today are off site, though, which may be a harbinger of things to come. With the loss of Lincoln Center and the Mercedes-Benz sponsorship, there is some speculation that there will no longer be a single, central location for runway shows. I don’t really want to think about having to run all over town to get from one show to the next, but that’s what already happens in Milan and Paris, so there is a precedent for such a thing.

If all the off-site shows go as well as this Jill Stuart show, I don’t think we’ll have many complaints. Benches were spaced comfortably, there was plenty of room, and everyone seemed rather comfortable, which is a nice reprise from the typically crowded conditions at Lincoln Center.  The open space offers more options for runway design as well, something that’s just now starting to take hold in New York after being extremely popular in Milan and Paris for several seasons.

Prior to the show, Ms. Stuart said her inspiration for this season’s collection could be defined by five words: renegade, poetic, thirsty, sultry, and runaway. Of the five, renegade was probably the strongest. There is a tremendous amount of leather in this collection and at times that delivers a bit of a “tough girl” vibe that is not what one normally expects from the Jill Stuart brand.  Nude fishnet stockings and go-go boots enhance that look and I’m assuming are meant to infer the runaway as well. A sleeveless leather dress over a knit turtleneck as the third piece in really defines that renegade look well.

Poetic is a little more challenging to find. There are a couple of cute LBDs early on, but it’s not until we see a floral print on silk that we pick up a real sense of the poetic. There are actually several soft pieces scattered through the collection, and each time they are a nice break from all the leather. One just has to occasionally peer beneath the coats to see them.

Coats are a huge part of this season and Ms. Stuart delivers some great designs that are bound to be popular. Yes, the leather is nice, but don’t miss pieces such as the three-quarter length gray wool, or any of the mid-thigh coverings that are going to do a great job of keeping one warm while not diminishing the look beneath them.

Worth noting is the fact that most the hemlines on these dresses hit about mid-thigh, which is a bit breezy for the season but appropriate given her audience and the overall look of the collection. Pants, where they happen to occur, are rather fitted. This approach may be age-limiting, especially for women in the Midwest. One is going to need to be in optimal physical condition to pull off most these looks over the age of, oh, let’s be generous and say 35. The exception would be the one suit and the one longer, ankle-length dress which can work for just about anyone (especially the dress).

If one is paying attention, you probably also notice that the hairstyle here is very similar to what we saw in Jason Wu‘s show yesterday. Down, close to the head until the neckline, then loose and flowing, is a look that actually works better here than it did for Jason.

I really like the attitude of this Jill Stuart collection. Even the sequins seem to have some sass to them, and it’s good, I think, to see such a strong statement from the brand.

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