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By Diane Small
Leanne Marshall, one of the most successful Project Runway
Concerned about climate change and the effects on the natural world, recently, the designer decided it was time to hit a different emotional chord with her work. When she showed her most recent collection at New York Fashion Week, the models had a cautionary tale to tell. They strutted the catwalk in a series of four stories, taking guests from a dark apocalyptic world with models wearing moody black dresses and smokey kohl-lined eyes, all the way to the rebirth of nature reclaimed.
The first series, “Dark World,” included nine looks of midnight black dresses in luxurious silks and organzas with several custom designed digital prints. The series exemplified edgy chic; from a gown featuring an inverted neckline to a silk twill and organza dress with beaded detail on the bust that was a completely fresh take on the little black dress.
“Tsunami,” the second series, was filled with a full spectrum of blues mimicking the hues of water in silhouettes that felt like waves cascading down the runway. Standout pieces included 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, “Calming Waters,” began to lift guests into a magical world filled with ethereal soft shapes, a combination of lavender and pale blue toned hues and original water-coloured prints. The ice blue spaghetti strapped silk organza gown with a deep V-neck and a draped bodice floated down the runway became a show favorite.
The last ten looks, “Nature Reclaimed”, gradually progressed from lightly toned, unstructured dresses to vibrant kelly green, floor length pieces that bloomed into full floral couture punctuated by a masterful blend of colour and design, all artfully highlighting Marshall’s ability to tell a story through beautiful, wearable garments.
All images Brian Ach/Getty Images.