Looking back at last season, I was concerned that Jill Stuart was skewing her collection too young. This season, there is much-needed maturity to the clothes. This is, once again, a line young women can shop without worrying about looking like their little sisters. However, one is going to have to do their own styling. As lovely as the dresses were, the manner in which they were presented on this morning’s runway was even less mature than what we saw last season.
On the plus side, the floral prints are stunning. Lightweight silks and chiffons are fantastic at catching air when one walks and are perfect for those summer days when outdoor temps are at their hottest. Skirts are loose, full, and flowing and look great coming down the runway. Tops come in a number of different silhouettes, which seems a little disjointed at times but gives customers plenty of choices. There are plenty variations of bare shoulders, necklines at almost every depth and shape, and a nice color palette that invokes the emotions of the season. There is a lot here to enjoy.
Where the collection turns sour, though, is with the insistence upon repeatedly pairing tight leggings with these beautiful dresses, or taking the look out of season with knit arm warmers. The leggings alone are as though they were borrowed from an entirely different collection. The colors are not complimentary to the dresses. The fabrics are different materials of such different weights as to put them dramatically at odds with the dresses. The result is rather like tying an 80-pound anchor to a swimming pool inflatable. I wouldn’t have a problem with the arm warmers if they were styled with heavy cotton dresses for fall. If the weather is warm enough for these dresses, though, the heavy yarn of those arm warmers is going to itch at the very least.
I keep wanting to like Jill Stuart, but this is the second season in a row where the collection has said, “No, you need to look elsewhere.” So, I guess I’ll look elsewhere. Sorry, Ms. Stuart. We tried.