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  • Writer's pictureMaren Beverly

We Missed You, Staud

Balloon skirts! Knee-length trenches! And Jeff Bezos (?)


Staged at The Plaza Hotel, Staud’s choice of venue was certainly a power play for the West Coast designer. Yes, I’ve landed on the East Coast and I’m staying at The Plaza. Staud makes clothes for your fabulous, well-off older sister who, last night, arrived in the city for a vague (or Vogue) business trip. But was choosing this very New York, New York runway low-hanging fruit for NYFW? The pessimist in me admits that it reads as a stuffy symbol of luxury for the self-branded “affordable luxury” brand. On the other hand — my optimistic eye appreciates the backdrop of old-school New York glamour to bolster a presentation seeping with ‘90s influence.

Prior to the show, Sarah Staudinger told WWD that the collection was inspired by the Italian phrase villeggiatura, meaning a prolonged stay (often in a stunning European town). The looks certainly invoked a breeze of ease, although with a note of unpresuming opulence that someone who got married in Saint-Tropez speaks as their second language. Certainly, we would all like to stay a while and dazzle at the mirage of approachable luxury.

The opening sequence of looks embraced silky, slinky, and simple tailoring, emboldened by pastel blues and purples. A Cinderella blue, two-piece set seemed to merge monochrome minimalism with Staud’s innate sense of play, an ensemble that would fly in an office or at a cocktail hour with the cool girls. A trio of knee-length trench coats walked arm in arm down the runway, the belt a neatly tied bow that concealed nothing beneath. I appreciated this take on a classic piece of outerwear and envisioned the jacket mixing well with bright rain boots and spring walks through Central Park.

Large, ballooning, bubble-hemmed skirts floated and landed this collection - pieces meant for play, but beware of accidentally splashing in any puddles. As pointed out by Twitter users, the skirt was likely a direct reference to Isaac Mizrahi S/S 1994 and/or Chanel Couture S/S 1999.

The pace of the show accelerated with the arrival of a fishnet, embellished crystal dress that let bare skin shine underneath the glitter. A glamorous layer that a model would wear in Ibiza, it felt like a styling departure from Staud’s good girl who works in corporate America but knows fashion; instead, it’s pushing towards the playful, sexy side of Staud that appears in her mini skirts and bold patterns. Must a girl always choose between being either?

A welcome surprise: there was no Tommy bag in sight on this runway. Known for their elaborately embellished accessories, I had hoped for a hint of exciting arm candy to pair with some of the more neutral looks. Instead, I’m excited by the checker print fish-shaped bag, and only slightly suspicious of the incredibly oversized, white, moon bag — which is, at its best, an experimentation with proportion, and at its worst, a potential grab for Instagram Story shots. (One can’t fixate on this eternal push-and-pull of fashion week in the age of social media or you’ll make yourself dizzy.) Nonetheless, on a Sunday evening in September, all eyes were on Staud’s classically playful creations, and last night I dreamt of going to work in those navy blue, starry embellished trousers.

Oh, and Jeff Bezos was there (?), too, so maybe he had similar dreams last night. 🌀


You can view the whole collection here.


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