Marchesa Fall/Winter 2016
Marchesa Fall/Winter 2016

If one is ever having difficulty finding anything beautiful in this world, they need look no further than a Marchesa showroom. Even those who have no hope nor desire to ever wear one of these opulent gowns or dresses have to admire the beauty and artistry of this collection.  Watching this show at Moynihan Station this evening was rather like watching sparkling, angelic beings descend to dwell upon we mere mortals. There was something not-quite-real about the collection, but we were willing to indulge the fantasy.

Of course, being Marchesa, there is an abundance of the usual materials and methods. I’m just going to assume that trucks back up to the Marchesa loading docks daily with a fresh supply of taffeta and tulle. The two fabrics account for a very large portion of Marchesa dresses and when one adds chiffon, lace, beads, and feathers, probably eighty percent of the collection is covered. Several of the column dresses are rather familiar silhouettes as are the countless layers of ruffles and peplum on the gowns.  Sometimes the sheer bulk of material layered upon layer gives the visual impression that the dress is attempting to take its wearer off into the sky.

What makes the collection feel downright opulent, however, are the miles of applique beads, jewels, and gold brocade. In fact, there’s an unusually high amount of gold scattered throughout this collection. The finalè piece is gold chain with semi-precious jewels embedded, in a design that would have made Cleopatra jealous. One ensemble even had its own crown, just in case the dress itself didn’t quite feel royal enough.

Granted, for all this upscale red-carpet fantasy, there are still a few dresses that feel as though they were made for the junior prom, circa 1973. There was also a piece with light blue peacock feathers that looked more like something from a Las Vegas revue than a Hollywood red carpet. We quickly forget those, though, when we see the dye-cut gold lace dresses, or the delicate roses pinned to the shoulders of a gown, or the feminine scoop of a curved neckline. Sure, the red dress with a Spanish theme may have seemed out of place, but the overwhelming preponderance of gold on either side almost made the red dress moot.

Is the collection too much? I can see some who might think so, and certainly, viewing this many astonishing gowns at the same time is a little overwhelming after about the 12th piece. Yet, what the line does is provide a theme with enough variations to match almost any formal need or occasion. You may only buy one of these dresses in your lifetime, if you’re lucky, but that one dress will help make it’s wearer memorable for a lifetime.

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