Danielle Frankel’s fall collection opened with a sleeveless dress featuring a silk wool twill bodice and architectural stand-up collar, corset-like detailing wrapped around the waist, and hand-cut Lace trimmed linen organza complements an exaggerated tulip skirt that falls to the ankle. It’s light as air and comes with an oversized straw hat adorned with hundreds of tiny flowers. The look is simultaneously reminiscent of another era while rooting itself in the present .
“I prefer to look back at the past than what’s happening right now,” the designer said on a recent appointment at her lovely downtown studio. Beauty has a purpose—many star-eyed brides come here in search of her dream wedding dress—but like her gown, this space isn’t saccharine. She continued, “I look at a lot of New Look; Dior, Balenciaga and that era where you had these really dramatic silhouettes—but we’re doing a contemporary version.”
It can be incongruous to describe clothes made to satisfy a lifelong fantasy as “contemporary” – after all, what is “contemporary” if it’s not a stand-in for “real life”? What is real life if not the opposite of fantasy? But it’s this quality that makes Danielle Frankel Hirsch so successful. Many looks included mini dresses and ankle skirts—perhaps to ensure the pieces lasted long after they had walked the aisle.
Shiny silk wool spaghetti strap mini dress with Chantilly lace appliqués on the hem, matching maxi skirt with silk cashmere turtleneck with gathered sleeves, Make way for exaggerated opera gloves reminiscent of a favorite ’90 baby tee paired with a vintage satin slip dress for added elegance. Some ’90s elements appear on a spaghetti strap shift dress covered in Chantilly lace and strips of ivory organza, hand-edged for a very refined look impression of fur. These looks are bridal because they are white, sophisticated, and formal; but they can also be part of an everyday wardrobe if they are made in other colors or fabrics. A boxy men’s tuxedo in matte silk wool (“Why not?”) was another modern touch.
Elsewhere, pieces made from real baroque pearls embroidered to sheer sequins were gorgeous and minimal. “I’m usually anti-sequined, but,” said the designer , allowing Fabric to complete her sentences.