Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig know how to make a beautiful dress. Since the inception of Marchesa, the two designers have been making absolutely stunning gowns. They are the dresses that every girl sees and immediately recognizes as incredible. In a sense, that is not a good thing. To be so massively appealing is sometimes the sign of a dumbed-down design or lack of depth.
Marchesa’s dresses were obvious in design and I recognized the craftsmanship as well as the work, but dismissed them as a serious brand. They became predictable. You always knew their dresses would be beautiful, you always knew there would be lace, and you always expected some play with construction. Boring.
And it really did not help that they have become one of Hollywood’s go-to awards dressmakers. Everyone has worn a Marchesa dress down the red carpet, whether it was Miley Cyrus, Sienna Miller, Sandra Bullock, Blake Lively, and the list is endless. Point being, celebrity endorsement is not necessarily the best compliment.
For anyone who’s ever watched the Rachel Zoe Project, remember that episode when Rachel had to ask Karl Lagerfeld to change that pink Chanel Couture gown so Cameron Diaz could wear it to the Golden Globes? Well, Rachel’s explanation for that was the American public might not understand how stunning the dress is, so the change would dumb down the design enough for viewers to get it. And that happens all the time; celebrities go for safer design to avoid being on Worst Dressed Lists. This is why the red carpet is not where you gain fashion credibility.
“Safe design” is exactly where I put Marchesa: until now. Enter Marchesa Fall 2011. Amazing. I assumed they would get old and were just a celebrity fetish, but this collection has so much depth, along with intricate design and amazing craftsmanship. The delicacy of the work is impressive, and the beauty, not always obvious. I absolutely loved it, loved it, loved it. They’ve actually made two dresses I would get married in. And that’s saying something.