In an interview in The New York Times a few years ago, Rick Owens memorably said “Right now I’m trying to figure out how to make tulle look like concrete.” That oxymoronic goal seems to be shared by several designers this season, who give tulle (and its playful cousin, dotted Swiss) more structure with ruching, pleats or boxy cuts. Sometime tulle is used as a filmy outerlayer for sweatshirts or trousers or is cut into a simple tee, adding ballet-worthy illusion to daytime basics.
Like Bouguereau’s paintings of comely shepherdesses and peasant girls that were snapped up by wealthy New Yorkers in the late 18oos, there is a dream of country life that city dwellers hold. It’s all about the lovely faces and bucolic backgrounds, rustic corselets and layered linen skirts, with none of the pesky bugs, foul weather or other hardscrabble realities. Designers in New York and London capture this fantasy pastoral mood for next spring with subtle peasant references like full sleeves, gathered skirts and sash waistlines, all in a delicate palette of bud greens and daffodil yellows.
A dizzying fantasy of Palm Beach glamour, complete with trompe l’oeil pussycat bows, ship-ahoy platforms and cascades of plastic flowers that hook over ears.