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  • Writer's picture5' ELEVEN''


For Fall 2019, J. Mendel presents a season inspired by the texture of raw marble, the rich tones of geode crystals, and the layering techniques of painter Sean Scully, giving us a collection of looks for both day and night that effortlessly marry the organic with the extravagant.

Designer Gilles Mendel takes with him the fashion house’s famed use of fabric manipulation, head-turning furs, and ultra-feminine silhouettes, but makes it more youthful than ever with the addition of a multitude of standout shearling pieces that infuse new life into the always-elegant history of the brand. Very much known for his ever-changing, yet always classic, collection of furs from season to season, Fall 2019 will mark the first time the design house has set forth such a selection of the more-casual shearlings. In timeless camel, dusty rose, and vibrant lavender, the more cool-girl take on cold-weather wears have been styled effortlessly with everything from layered tulle gowns to metallic tweed minis. The duality is, perhaps, best evidenced by the first look presented, in which J. Mendel has slipped a short coat made of teddy bear shearling over an intricately beaded and embroidered mini dress with ease.

Another example of the more modern take on texture and layering comes by way of an open-weave top and organza gown made of layered ruffles. The look, Mendel explains, “is like a long knit embroidered T-shirt over a ruffled dress, which is an easy way of going evening,” adding, “it’s constructed, but has an understated feeling.” It is, of course, a vibe that carries through the collection in its entirety.

Daytime tweeds are made even more textural by way of chevron embroideries and gold-threaded inlays, all inspired by the shapes and changing colors of the interior of those stunning geodes. Returning to that crystal-like inspiration, Mendel has used the inset of materials to take his already tactile weaves into the nearly sublime realm.

One cannot, of course, completely take-in a full J. Mendel collection without paying specific note to the evening gowns, always a red carpet staple. For Fall 2019, the hand-pleated skirts, sheer layered ruffles, and elegantly low necklines bring back much of the original DNA of the house. It is all about texture, it is all about lightness, but it is also all about strength. While the first striking aspect of a J. Mendel gown might very well be the ultra-feminine and ethereal lightness and transparency, the sensual movement quickly gives way to an inner power that not only protects the Mendel woman from the unforgiving flashes and lights of the red carpet, but also supports her in structure, allowing her to easily harness that confidence and power she embodies.

When it comes to the light and airy, yet rich and opulent feeling of Mendel’s finale gowns, the designer looked to photographs from Tim Walker that hold that whimsical deconstruction of what once was only seen in the great halls of centuries past Parisian galas. They are gowns that carry with them stories of generations past, simultaneously infused with a new energy of the younger generation.


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