Last Thursday was our second day in NYC and the official start of NYFW. It was one of the busiest days of the trip, but probably the most memorable. I woke up in our Upper East Side Airbnb and uber-ed it over to Chelsea for the Leanne Marshall Spring/Summer 2016 fashion show. Leanne was the winner of Project Runway Season Five and now has two lines- Leanne Marshall and LM by Leanne Marshall- with both bridal and ready-to-wear collections. She’s known for feminine, timeless, and elegant designs. Last year, she designed an exclusive selection of dresses for BHLDN.
I had the amazing opportunity to snap candid photos backstage and get a sneak peek behind the scenes. It was the most beautiful chaos– models sitting and eating while they waited to get their hair and makeup done, hair and makeup artists creating fabulous looks, stylists steaming the gowns, and I even got to see the designer herself going over last minute details. One of my favorite moments was walking to the risers before the house opened and looking at all the empty chairs, about to be filled with celebrities, bloggers, and fashionistas from all walks of life.
The show was incredible. Leanne wanted to create a collection that struck an emotional cord. The models strutted the catwalk in a series of four stories, taking guests from an apocalyptic, dark world with moody black dresses dripping with intricate details to a birth of nature reclaimed.
Series 1 – Dark World
The “Dark World” series featured black dresses in luxurious silks and organzas with several custom designed digital prints. Chic and edgy, this series included a gown complimented by an inverted neckline and a silk twill and organza dress with beaded detail on the bust line that was a completely fresh take on the little black dress.
Leanne’s second series called “Tsunami” consisted of a full spectrum of blues mimicking the hues of water. The silhouettes moved like waves cascading down the runway. Some of the standout looks were a full-length, navy gown with a layered silk twill cutout bodice and a printed chiffon skirt and a royal blue silk gown with a deep V bodice and a sophisticated pleated asymmetrical overlay.
The third series, called “Calming Waters,” was my absolute favorite of the entire show. Guests were transported to a magical world filled with ethereal soft shapes, a combination of lavender and pale blue toned hues and original water-colored prints. I’m still dreaming about the ice blue spaghetti strapped silk organza gown with a deep V-neck and a draped bodice that floated down the runway.
The final looks, part of the “Nature Reclaimed” series, gradually progressed from light earthen-toned, unstructured dresses to vibrant kelly green, floor length pieces that bloomed into full floral couture punctuated by a masterful blend of color and design that highlight Marshall’s ability to tell a story through beautiful, wearable garments.
As Leanne took the stage after the final walk, tears were welling up in my eyes. It was a feeling I used to experience during the curtain call of my high school theater performances. I was so overwhelmed by the surrealness of it all. Despite all the insecurities and fears I had about not being prepared, or that I didn’t belong there– a sense of calm washed over me, and everything just seemed right. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to NYFW or more beautiful designs to photograph.