Style.com: Chadwick Bell Spring 2014 review
SEPTEMBER 06, 2013
By Alison Baenen
Chadwick Bell, a child of the nineties, grew up in Southern California, and for Spring he went back to both the place and the decade. “Surfers, skaters, cholas…” he rattled off, listing the ambassadors of subculture cool who ruled in his youth, and whose stamp he put on this collection. The nineties’ in-crowd was never known for looking tidy, and at Bell’s studio the day before the show he described his girl as “disheveled.”
Still, for better or worse, put-together-ness is a Bell trademark, and this season’s woman was definitely more chic than counterculture. The closest thing to dishevelment was a looseness in the silhouette, an era-appropriate slouch that projected the enviable impression of not trying too hard. If some of the pieces seemed to float off the body—such as the black stretch wool crepe crop top that opened the show—it was because Bell lined the interiors of cuffs and hems with horsehair to make them stand up. That level of detail extended to the openings on the sides of jackets—which allow the wearer to easily put her hands into her pockets—and to the clusters of metal embroidery on a dress and sheer tulle skirt: Upon closer inspection, they were little fish swimming upstream. A white silk georgette tank gown with subtle bands of fringe was a knockout, and the ivory-and-oxblood blanket poncho that closed the show was an elegant take on the Mexican influences Bell mined. Simple and sophisticated, the best pieces here showcased Bell’s knack for refinement.