‘Tis the season of the Oscars, and awards show fashion aficionados were craving to see some evening gowns on the first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. To quell the hunger of fashionistas for glamorous beauty, Tadashi Shoji delivered -- yet again -- a collection the princess inside every woman would, and did, fawn over.
Shoji, who often finds inspiration in travel, journeyed to St. Petersburg and back, captivated by imperial Russia and the story of the dynasty that became exiled nobility during winter.
“I had something in my head, Russian-themed, so I went there and I made a story,” Shoji said, backstage, before the show. “The Romanov Empire was collapsing and all of the royal princesses were escaping from St. Petersburg disguised in peasant dresses and running to Siberia in the cold, cold winter.”
The grandeur culture of the palaces juxtaposed against the fallout of the empire gave Shoji a tale to tell, which translated into an ultra-luxe collection of evening gowns fused with folkloric details. Voluminous shapes, like the closing look consisting of a flouncy skirted gown with a draped caplet, and trapeze silhouettes with drop waists, dominated the collection in hues of sapphire, burgundy, blush tones, taupe and snow white.
Embellished with delicate embroidered patterns and lace overlays, Shoji achieved the stately feel of prominent society with adornments of gems and pearls and, of course, his expert usage of silk.
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“We always use silk,” Shoji said of his fabric palette. “Silk chiffon, silk cut velvet and a lot, a lot of lace. The new fabric is neoprene, but we made it thinner so it can stretch. It’s very comfortable because it can stretch.”
Comfortable evening gowns? Who ever heard of practical formal wear? Thanks to Shoji, the Japanese-born designer’s numerous celebrity clients (most recently, Jessica Lange, Ellie Kemper and Jacki Weaver at the 2013 SAG Awards) can now walk the red carpet in comfort.
Speaking of the red carpet, Shoji was once again tight-lipped upon mention of the Academy Awards, even after Octavia Spencer, who won an Oscar last year, wore one of his dresses (a secret he was coy about last year at this time, too).
“I don’t know yet,” the designer said, with a wink, when asked which star will wear one of his creations at the 85th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24. “If you know, let me know, ok?”
Oh that Tadashi Shoji, a mastermind of mystery.