Scott Sternberg has been the golden boy of American menswear for years, reinventing crisp preppy gear with a French twist. He brings the same classicism to his women's collections. So while the remains of Nemo melted into slush outside, it was all lounge lighting inside, punctuated by Billie Holiday’s syrupy vocals (guests were even greeted by cookies that said Lady Day, her nickname). As it turns out, he didn't need to sweeten the deal.
The sultry singer provided the inspiration for a historically rich yet of-the-moment offering. There were Jazz Age overtones (mixed with Depression-era glam) with pointy Joan Crawford shoulders, slouchy knits, newsboy tailoring and day dresses fit for Lauren Bacall. But the real magic was that these nods were mixed with present-day must-haves, like cool party separates, slicks of leather, plenty of smart daytime choices and some killer outerwear. A bomber reinvented as a full-length coat in sheared broadtail with contrasting nylon sleeves was a particular standout.
The surprise here was the depth and sophistication of the collection. Except for bits of blue shirting, there were no facile references to Sternberg's origins in menswear, but a strong grasp of fashion history and what cool girls want to wear now. You could feel every X chromosome (and foppish boy bloggers) salivating over turban-esque kitted head wraps destined for the street-style circuit. It's no coincidence that, before fashion, Sternberg was a Hollywood agent.