Marchesa Fall 2012 Collection

Posted on February 21, 2012

Inspired by “A Soul Brought to Heaven,” by painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau, which depicts two angels carrying a young woman to Heaven, the Marchesa show at the Plaza Hotel was just as lofty a little slice of fashion heaven itself. The thing about Marchesa that doesn’t always come across in photos is the high luxury of the textiles used and the impeccable craftsmanship, which calls to mind the work of the petit mains of French Haute Couture. The effect is overwhelming in person and watching dozens of these confections glide past us in a Gilded Age ballroom was an oddly serene moment, even with all the celebrities in attendance and flashbulbs going off. Fashion Week is funny that way. You scramble around like frantic chickens, jostling and pushing and shoving yourself into tiny little seats over and over and over again, all day; and every hour or so it stops for 12 minutes of unadulterated beauty. A pure aesthetic moment. Then it’s right back to the pushing and scrambling.

[Photo Credit: Getty]

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  • Gorgeous! I hope we see a few of these on the Oscars RC Sunday.

    • Robyn Morelli

       I know! It’s like you could pick a dress for each attendee. I want to see who snags that red gown in the bottom row.

  • chill85

    I know everything is influenced by *something*, but there’s so much McQueen here—even as specific as post-McQueen (Burton) McQueen—that it’s distracting. Surely there are other silhouettes out there than that high-necked, cap-sleeved, corseted, flared-skirt thing going on here?  Of course, Marchesa doesn’t seem to have the dark edge that McQueen does, and so it comes across too much like straight dress-up. I’m sure in person they’re astonishingly well-made (and in ridiculously expensive, luxe fabrics) but that’s the dominant impression I have from the computer screen.

    • Chaiaiai


    • Katy Beazley

      I too was struck by the STRONG influence of McQueen here.  No wonder its really the first time I’ve found myself somewhat liking a Marchesa collection… I had to double check that I wasn’t in a McQueen post from last years shows.   …. They need to leave this aesthetic to Sarah Burton though…  JS

    • Lauren Folden

      That was the first thing I thought, as well.  Though the first red dress looks like Rodarte when they were doing the shredded knits.  Either way, this is not an original collection. 

      • chill85

         Yes, some Rodarte too, though their own silhouette has been different in recent collections (triangular cutouts, strong shoulders, A-line skirts) so it doesn’t seem as egregious to me. Even a different color story would have helped: that one blue dress above is similar in silhouette to the rest but the fact that it diverges so emphatically from the red/antique gold/white/black scheme makes it, to me, the best dress in here.

    • Yaara

       Yep, I actually scrolled up to make sure it was ‘Marchesa’ on the top of the page.

    • Amy Ellinger

      THIS so much!!!!  Very disappointing for see such literal remakes. Perhaps Mrs. Chapman-Weinstein was going for a sure thing that everyone would sigh and fawn over, what with all the bad press from the latest collections, but this is too much. Leave McQueen to McQueen, dangit.

      Looks like a good Project Runway “inspired by” project.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    It’s like a Rococo-style church exploded in a fabric store.

  • Ms_Flyover

    I’m very glad to see they have stopped oragami-ing themselves into a frenzy.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I love a Marchesa collection.

    If I ever have another wedding, I may need to hit the gym for a year so that I can wear either dress no. 3 or the one with the blue bodice.  I really love both of them.

  • I am surprized how much I love these gowns!  A few are a bit OTT, but it is Marchesa, after all.  Not a fan of the big gold dresses, but holy cow I’d cut a bitch for the first in the dress third last row.  To die. 

    On another note–reruns of PR Season ONE are on Style today. *Sigh* Were we ever that young…?

    • rougeort

      Thanks for the headsup- time for some nostalgia…

  • rougeort

    AMAZING. I always love a good Marchesa collection, but this one is really off the charts. My only problem with it is that a lot of these dresses look near impossible to pull off (see middle dress last row, first dress second to last row, the first outfit with the coat, etc.) Is it just me or are these a little too much for most?

  • MK03

    I think this is the first Marchesa collection that I unequivocally like.

  • Scarlet39

    I don’t think I would have guessed that this collection is Marchesa.  That’s a good thing, I think.  All of the pleating, folding, twisting and turning that they usually do was starting to really look overdone and overplayed.   There’s nothing particularly ground breaking here, but they are beautifully designed and crafted dresses.

  • Isy

    That liquid dress on Jourdan Dunn is fabulous. That black lace dress is beautiful!  and lastly, SHOES!!!!

  • schadenfreudelicious

    many of them are exquisitely beautiful, a few however do resemble “frantic chickens” 🙂

  • The quality of the materials is beautiful, but way too much for my taste. I think Viola @ the GG was the last time i saw a Marchesa that I really loved, the right combination of ornate without being fussy. 

    • Viola looked marvelous in that gown.  The gold in that dressed really looked fabulous against her dark skin.  That’s why I think she would look great in the dress Jourdan Dunne is wearing (the gold one, one row from the bottom on the left).

  • VicksieDo

    WOWZA, these are to DIE!

  • Rebecca Johnson

    I dunno, I get the same impression I frequently get from Marchesa – that they either can’t or won’t design a gown that looks good via simple materials and expert shaping. So they throw in tulle explosions, giant fabric hip tumors, feathers, heavy beading, etc. A little of that goes a long way, though, and an entire collection of evening wear decked out with it looks tired to my eyes.

  • Marchesa normally is way too TOO for me, but there are some seriously stunning pieces in this collection.

  • serenitynow02

    There are unquestionably some pieces that I like, but on the whole, I find Marchesa to be an assault on the senses – too often not in a good way.

  • Blair Sylvester

     All I  see is well made and well executed tacky. These are dresses I could see some Edith Wharton heroine wearing with very minor changes made. These literally look like vintage clothing. Its just hard to visualize any woman looking modern in almost any of  these clothes. Perhaps I’m being harsh because I have a deep seated hate of Marchessa and I don’t really feel a need for Lily Bart as seen by Georgina Chapman.

    • Lilithcat

      All I  see is well made and well executed tacky. These are dresses I could see some Edith Wharton heroine wearing with very minor changes made. 

      You contradict yourself.  No Edith Wharton heroine would ever wear “tacky”.

      • k op

         Maybe she means Edith Wharton as reimaged by Hollywood starring Keira Knightly with heaving chicken cutlets on her chest.

        Wharton heroines get freaky by wearing a slim gold cigarette case attached to her wrist and tucked up one sleeve.  Or maybe someone hasn’t read Wharton at all?

        •  I have read the House of Mirth three times and and Age of Innocence twice and The Buccaneers once. In fact the Countess Olenska (even if you take her as an anti heroine) and the daughters in The Bucanners are considered gauche and tacky by other members of English and American society. I am reasonably familiar with Wharton and their is a difference between the author and her characters.  Finally i would venture that  “tacky” is subjective. And what was very of the moment in the 1870s up until early 1900s could in fact be considered tacky by modern tastes.

  • Has Diane Kruger already worn the one with the eagle breast plate? Because if she hasn’t she should. And then I will probably mock her choices, but it really is her dress.

  • CassandraMortmain

    That is one syrupy, sickly-sweet sentimental painting.  I’ve never been a Bouguereau fan but this is over the top, even for him.  I do see the influence on the collection, though.  I often love Marchesa dresses and while much of this does look a bit overwrought, it’s still pretty stunning.  And those shoes are just ridiculously beautiful.  I would have loved to see this collection walk. 

  • BrooklynBomber

    It’s no secret how I feel about Marchesa, but those little shoes look delicious, and I even like the bizarre chain mail “boots” (though can’t imagine they’re not extremely uncomfortable). I still don’t actually like most of it, but some of the gowns are lovely (the black one third row down looks especially interesting) and for Marchesa these are toned down, so, yay. Mostly I’m grateful when the Marchesa models aren’t standing on boxes looking like they’ve just come off a 3-day bender.

  • sid123

    guess you had to be there

  • I find almost all of these dresses overwrought, rococo, and hideous, typical of Marchesa.  Nothing fresh, new, or modern, and not beautiful enough for me to overlook the excess of fabric.  Perhaps I’m an overly bitter kitten, but I find it strange that there is virtually no criticism of any of these fashion week shows.  I understand that TLo does not want to bite the hand that extended the invite, but it’s disappointing that the critique withers away for fear of offending the designer.  I miss frank bitchery.

    • SewingSiren

      How could you miss bitchery? Frankly, you seem to have an over supply.

      • That might just be my favorite response ever!  To anyone about anything!  I’m stealing it 😀

    • We have never taken a bitchy approach to our runway commentary. There’s a time and place for everything and our bitchiness is reserved for reality TV, celebrities, and red carpet fashion.

  • Much as I normally dislike Marchesa, I really love that blue and white dress toward the middle.

  • terilla

    I usually like (not love, though) Marchesa collections, but almost never like the way they look on the red carpet. I wonder why. As for this, i totally adore several of the dresses (my favourite is the far right in the first row – the bottom kinda looks like angel’ wings).

  • SewingSiren

    They’re all pretty enough. I think ALL of her collections are influenced by Souls floating to heaven. But I miss the waifs on pedestals presentation. That is may favorite thing ( I know most posters hate it though) . I want to be  one of those sad little waifs wearing a grey shredded Cinderella after the ball gown on a pedestal. I really do.

  • Terence Ng

    I feel the gold everywhere is a bit on the nose for the angelic inspiration, but the clothes are very well made. I like quite a few of them.

  • Marchesa is usually not to my taste, but good Lord, these are stunning.

    • drdirection

      This is exactly what I thought.  I get that it is referential of McQueen, but holycrap!  I think these are beautiful.   They will look stunning on the right person.

  • PrunellaV

    Those filagree boots are brilliant.

  • AuntieAnonny

    Most of the gowns look like wedding dresses that a tacky Russian living on Staten Island would wear, but I guess I can love the metallic ones.

  • Beardslee

    I like the red dress in the second row and actually find it wearable.  The others are just so fluffy and ethereal, they are made for someone who lives on a different planet from me so I will content myself with gazing at them from afar. 

  • Anathema_Device

    I like the red dress in the fourth row a lot, with the black leather laser-cut dress in the row above it a close second (paging Rooney Mara). Many of the other looks suffer from having one too many elements. I will say, that blue lace dress with the drop-waist tulle skirt would make an amazing wedding gown.

  • Amy Ellinger

    McQueen did it first, and better. 

  • PastryGoddess

    Why am a getting an Alexander McQueen vibe from some of these dresses?

    Gorgeous clothes though.  Georgina, really knows how to fit a womans body

    • Anathema_Device

       The feathers under that dress in the first row had me thinking the same thing.

    • Corsetmaker

      McQueen and Givenchy, quite strongly.

    • my thoughts exactly – but more along the lines of Marchesa being the only house out there currently who could rival McQueen in terms of intricacy. Particularly LOVING the 7th row L piece, and the liquid bronze-champagne.

      Georgina knows how it’s done – both as a designer and judge.

  • joything

    That liquid gold fabric in the next-to-last row is To DIE.

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    some of these are gorgeous & way more interesting than the usual from marchesa
    [ie: the liquid bronzegold, ninth from the bottom, left. the noodly lace w/ the semi-secret feather underskirt, top row, right. & third & fourth rows, both middle & right].
    some of these are beautiful & typical
    [ie: third row, left. sixth row, all. last red dress].
    some of these are fairly unwearable & almost hideous
    [ie: first row, first aka no. 1].
    & some of these are not just feathery but featherheaded & nuts train bound
    [ie: eighth row, right. a couple others but none that quite hit this mark this well].

    anyway, a bit atypical & all over the terribly expensive map, at least for marchesa.

  • It looks like somebody was auditioning to do costumes for one of the fairy tale movies this summer. 

  • Judy_J

    I think it would be absolutely heavenly to experience wearing any one of those gowns…

  • MilaXX

    So very pretty. These are just screaming for the RC.

  • lizajane1776

    There is an awful lot of beautiful up there!

  • BrightsideSusan

    This is the first time I have seen a boot variation that I actually like.

  • Zippypie

    Some of these are so overdone and some are so absolutely beautiful.  I’m just glad to see the absence of a lot of napkin folding in this collection.

  • I can’t even with Marchesa.  Blech.  I just hate their whole tired French Rococo-y aesthetic.  I surprisingly like Georgina Chapman as a judge on Project Runway though.

  • minnye

    Fourth row down, leftmost – the white dress & gold boots are beautiful on that girl. 

  • J’adore

  • ri_dic

    Some are typically over-wrought Marchesa. Some are definitely referential. I can see J-Lo in that short white feathery one. The Fanning girls in the other short gold and white ones. Angelina would kill in that liquid gold one. (And I am NOT a fan of hers.) I get that the fabrics are exquisite, but I just don’t love Marchesa.

  • quiltrx

    I know a lot of other Kittens don’t care for Marchesa…but I usually love their designs, and these are no exception.  I love the damask-ish detailing and the cutout laces.  A bit more edgy and less frou-frou than their designs often come across.

  • If I were Snow White and lived in fairy tale land, I would so wear all of these. The shoes! Gasp. Love it all. But it’s not practical outside the world of Never, never Land. 

  • boweryboy

    Really?  This is a blatant rip off of McQueen down to the fabrications and silhouettes.  C’mon.  Even McQueen’s final collection was called Angels and Demons.
    Row 1, Picture 3:  This  with a little bit of Row 7 Picture 3 thrown in for good measure.
    Row 2, Picture 2 or Row 8, Picture 1:  This

  • boweryboy

    Row 3, Picture 2:  This and a few other dresses from Sarah Burton’s Spring 2012 collection.
    Row 7, Picture 3:  This

  • boweryboy


    And the most egregious of them all – Row 6, Picture 2:  WTF?
    I totally get fashion is referential and cyclical but it irks me when the referential is so literal that it’s insulting to all who love fashion and to those who originally created it.
    Outside of that they are impeccably made dresses.

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    Well, I want to like the collection, and I do like a few pieces, but as usual, most of them seem really overworked. 

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    I’m in love with the third row down on the right.  Yum.

  • girliecue

    It’s such a relief to see Marchesa move away from the over-folded napkin look. This line may always be a little too frou frou for my taste, but they’ve got the luxe thing down. Beautiful!

  • bitterk

    Alas, I have no where to wear any of it

  • ccm800

    How does an Enterprise like this make money? They lend the gown out to the only folks who would could actually wear them…wheres the money?  Other than judging on PR AllStars?  

  • I agree with the similarities to McQueen…. I thought it was so odd when I actually liked a Marchesa collection and I do believe that explains it.

  • Truly_Outrageous

    Its muthafuckin Marchesa!!! I can’t help it. I love this, especially the gown with the blue lace like applique and ivory colored tulle.

  • Gorengirl

    Love it all, but Id kill for those gold lace up boots!