meenal MISTRY: penélope cruz, diane kruger, kate beckinsale, rachel weisz, kerry washington, ali larter, sharon stone, bar refaeli. that’s a list of women who, in a single month this year, all wore dresses designed by georgina chapman. so why do they love marchesa? “do you know what? i don’t actually know, but i’m so glad they do,” laughed chapman at today’s chelsea art museum presentation.
well, chapman might not be able to quite put her finger on it, but she clearly knows better than to mess with the unmistakable and ultraglamorous bones of the look. for spring, her reference was madame butterfly, which led in a straight line to the formal kimono wrapping of stiff satin gowns and flat, obi-esque folds. more obliquely, there was something of a set-design element to the very matte black and white dresses that almost looked as if they’d been cut out of paper. and, of course, the drama of chapman’s signature sculptural and gravity-defying ruffles of horsehair is nothing short of operatic. but, with few exceptions, that’s not the dress that elicits a swoon from actresses, like the trio of blake lively, maggie q, and emmanuelle chriqui that lit up the gown-ogling crowd today. rather, it’s something like the breathtaking grecian draped column partly masked with carefully beaded black lace—simple but exquisite.