New York Fashion Week: Milly Spring 2011 Channels Peggy Guggeheim

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Pictured: Scenes from Milly’s Spring 2011 Collection at New York Fashion Week. (photo ©PatrickMcMullan)

Designer Michelle Smith sent her Spring Collection, inspired by art collector Peggy Guggenheim, down the runway at New York Fashion Week on Wednesday.  Michelle had said her collection was inspired by Peggy, and frankly, I wasn’t quite sure how that would turn out. Peggy was a grand eccentric.  She was famous for wearing her custom designed bat-wing and butterfly eyeglasses, along with a slash of bright red lipstick and extravagant earrings. Never known as a trendsetter,  Peggy  G was more into art than fashion.  When it came to fashion, she would splurge every now and then on a gown by Spanish designer Mariano Fortuny.  Fortuny was famous for designing ” tea gowns” which gently draped to the floor, and were free flowing with a cinched waist.  As you can see, Peggy’s style is an interesting choice for any designer.  It’s a bold move to model a collection on a style that outside art circles is not well recognized or known. Interestingly, Karl Lagerfeld has also been inspired by Peggy G’s fashion sense. In 2009, he did a photo shoot for Harper’s Bazaar showing off his interpretation of the heiress’ style.
So how did Milly translate the style of Peggy G?  With a unique flair. We saw turban headbands, vintage inspired sunglasses, “tribal prints”, floral prints with matching bags, lace overlay on fabric and geometric print dresses paired with solid coats.  I was most excited to see the brilliant poppy coat come to life from Milly’s sketch and swatch that I had seen before the show.

Pictured: A sketch from Milly’s Spring 2011 Collection (sketch courtesy of Milly NY, Michelle Smith.)

To me, the poppy coat was the show stopper of the collection with matching bag and shoes too.  See the picture below, and be dazzled!

Pictured: The wow factor, Milly’s Poppy coat and bag from her Spring 2011 Collection at New York Fashion Week. (photo ©PatrickMcMullan)

Overall the collection was playful, and conveyed a European sensibility.  I don’t think that all the pieces will appeal to the mass-market fashionista used to the celebrity ghosted designer clothing circuit offering little more than mini-dresses and one shoulder tops. (i.e. think fashions from the Kardashians.)  But Milly Spring 2011 offers a sense of sophistication, and classic lines.  It’s as unique as it’s inspiration, Miss Peggy G. Not everyone can rock a turban headband, but after checking out Milly 2011, I’m ready to give it a try.  I draw the line at eccentric butterfly sunglasses however.
I’ll look forward to seeing Milly at Bloomingdale’s next spring, and will be looking for it at the annual Brown Bag sale.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.

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