Cushnie et Ochs is a label well known for sophistication and elegance, so its latest resort 2017 collection is full of designs that show the varying degrees to which those characteristics can be present in fashion. Cofounders Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs have shown yet again their expertise in making daring clothes for powerful women, and this season they decided to look to Great Expectations for inspiration.
Estella Havisham is easily the most man-killing woman of classic literature, with her spirit-shattering role against protagonist Pip. Furthermore, Gwyneth Paltrow’s icy portrayal of the cruel woman in the modern adaptation was just as heartless; both iterations of the woman are embodied in this line, with their strength and badass personas. But it was Paltrow’s role that Cushnie and Ochs used as their leading source of inspiration, due to its modern-day filming.
The inspiration really took the designing duo to its best place, especially when they let the simple stylings of the ’90s (when the film was created) take over. They played well with shapes and fitting as the collection progressed, such as when they paired fitted tops with wide-leg palazzo pants.
All of the designs remained sleek and modern, taking the time to showcase the silhouettes Cushnie et Ochs does best, namely, their pencil dresses, which have become their signature over the past eight years of the label’s existence. The strength of the clothes really did continue on through the whole of the Cushnie et Ochs resort 2017 line, with the power exuding in even the simplest pieces, which was a great addition.
The bold colors and sharp cuts were what really brought home the power here, leaving the simplicity of the silhouettes and patterns to be apparent and even more striking than they otherwise could have been. But simple here didn’t mean plain or boring; there were plenty of mild embellishments and attention to fabric choice to make things constantly interesting.
For instance, a sleek black jumpsuit with a plunging neckline featured a light lace detail at the bottom of the neckline that took away from the blatant sexuality and added in a hint of demure intrigue which made for a more elegant garment all around. A draped cowl gown in a watercolor floral print was broken up with side cutouts and a crisscross strap detail, which managed to simultaneously make the garment sexier and a bit more demure. Overall the dress is beautiful, and just daring enough without being too overpowering for the wearer.
“It has a painterly feel. But it’s still a little mysterious in the way that she’s sort of a seductress.” said Cushnie of the collection’s palette, in an interview with WWD. Such hues showed up in the soft watercolor print, but many of the bold blue numbers, or black and white striking pieces, were not soft. The stunning white dressed at the end of the collection, and an electric blue dress, weren’t really soft, but instead brought in a hardness that generally goes hand in hand with seduction and power. It played well against the soft florals, navy blue, dark grey, and earthy green pieces.
Cushnie et Ochs skirted a fine line here between hard and soft, sensual and demure, and powerful and reserved in ways that resulted in a beautiful collection. For a resort line, nothing could feel more luxurious that tossing on a comfortable garment and looking like you’re in total control of whatever situation you’re in.
Photos courtesy of WWD