Alexandre Herchcovitch: Peeling Back the Petals

Alexandre Herchcovitch‘s FW13 flower-themed collection, shown on Saturday in New York, seemed to mark a new level of clean sophistication and refinement of the Brazilian designer’s fantastic imagination. His prints were a pleasing combination of the graphic (black stripes) and the romantic (botanical imagery), which made for a magical and intellectually stimulating show that explored the anatomy and life cycle of flowers.

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Alexandre Herchcovitch’s flowers for FW13

The shapes that Herchcovitch conceived around the body reflected the orchids and lilies pictured on his twining floral prints. In this garden, the long, sleek column of the models’ bodies became willowy stems, complemented by the graphic vertical lines that reached, like growing flowers, for the skies.

But like any flower worth its mettle, these clothes were not simply interested in growing up – they also wanted to burst forth in bloom. Billowing, voluminous peplums seemed to evoke the calyx, the outermost protective layer of a flowering plant, while organic ruffly sashes cum blouses wound round the waist like the first opening petals, or like an exploring vine reaching for new horizons.

This paved the way for further explorations of the petal-like nature of clothing. Gradually, the top halves of dresses peeled back and opened, revealing gorgeously topstitched bustiers underneath. Yet these opened outer petal layers did not simply fall haphazardly aside, discarded; instead they became integral to the shape of the look, creating a tiered effect that interestingly evoked the true life cycle of a bloom, as seen in the illustration above.

In all, Herchcovitch presented a thoughtful, powerful collection that played upon the flower metaphor while never going anywhere close to cloyingly pretty. His Comme des Garcons or Margiela-esque study on the nature and shape of clothing and bodies will stay in my mind for a long time to come – and keep my interest highly piqued to see what this seasoned designer will do next.

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