by Alex R. Travers
Michelle Smith’s Fall 2014 outing for Milly was a fireball in a time capsule. What at first seemed like a playful update of a slouchy Seventies wardrobe was actually a story about how clothes could bring out your wild side. So when a blaring, remixed version of Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” opened the show and the first models came out in bushy lamb sweaters, pleated culottes, and sequined tuxedo pants, you wondered, “How much wilder will it get?”
Keeping with the Donna Summer theme, the collection was actually more “Hot Stuff” than “Bad Girls.” Silver sequin suits reflected light as if they were shiny disco balls. So did her gold cigarette pants, which were outrageously bright. While the collection had its subtler moments—an ivory knitted fur sweater, a pin-tucked chiffon blouse—the soft was clearly overshadowed by the luminous. “The collection is dramatic and [was] inspired by the discipline and beauty of classical dance,” said Smith. Whaat?! Dramatic, maybe, but there was nothing classical about it. Perhaps the shoestring belts that tied together her Mongolian lamb coats (almost feather-like) and smarter outwear resembled the neat knots of a ballerina’s shoe. Or her mille-feuille skirts with peeking tulle, which added a sensual touch to an otherwise ordinary garment. Still, you had to look closely to find those details. It was, rather, the cheetah cardigans and bugle-bead fringe jackets that demanded your attention.
Cheetah prints. Beaded fringe. Classic they ain’t. But get one thing straight about Smith: Her success comes from her ability to portray pure, unadulterated fun, and this collection made you want to get up and dance.