On March 10th, Neiman Marcus celebrated The Art of Fashion and hosted their annual “The Belle of the Ball” fashion event at Garden State Plaza in Paramus. The event showcased designs by Herve Leger, Joanna Mastroianni, Helen Morley, Roland Nivelais, and Barbara Tfank. Looks from the show ranged from Hitchcock inspired gowns, mother of the bride dresses, to art deco drama. Aside from the fashion, Trish McEvoy makeup artists were there to aid in the glam and Frederic Sage were the jewels of choice. VUE was there to cover the event, an occasion which displayed the high fashion at Neiman Marcus.
Evening wear designer, Roland Nivelais took a unique and playful approach when it came to his gowns. His design aesthetic was young and fresh, and he drew inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s movies and muses such as Grace Kelly. A show stopping piece from his collection included a navy silk satin gown with a high low hem, paired with fitted black capri pants. Nivelais primarily uses French or Italian fabrics because of their richness and lux style, and keeps the dresses and design very simple with no ornamentation. He is one of the few evening wear designers who does not work with beading. “I allow the the textiles to speak for themselves,” Nivelais said. When asked what type of woman he designs for, Nivelais responded, “A socialite who likes to either go out, or stay home. Either way, she’s someone who likes to get dressed up.”
Responsible for introducing Prada to the red carpet, and the reason why we see a fusion between fashion and film, former costume designer Barbara Tfank has designed for some of Hollywood’s greatest, creating looks for celebrities such as Adele, first lady Michelle Obama, Kate Winslet, and Uma Thurman. As far as her latest collection goes, beauty was the source of her inspiration. Tfank said, “There’s so much ugliness in the world. I just wanted to make beautiful clothes that make people happy, and give a sense of well-being.” Tfank is most commonly known for her choice of fabric, many of which she actually designs herself (including the florals featured at the show). All of her textiles are imported from France and her garments feature details such as embroidered tulle, velvet, and beading, an embodiment of refined glamour.
For designer Joanna Mastroianni, she described both her collection and point of view as, “all about true luxury.” Femininity played a key role in the garments showcased, and while art deco served as her spring/summer inspiration, she specializes in modern couture garments that make it a point to look good from any angle, 360 degrees, from the inside out. “When a garment is cut well, it can bring out the best in anybody, of any age, any size,” Mastroianni said. Her garments pushed boundaries using nontraditional patterns and prints, hand beading on tulle trims, and accents such as ostrich feathers. There is a sense of ease to her clothes, while still remaining whimsical in both look and feel. “I perceive clothes as pieces of jewelry,” Mastroianni said. “To me, it’s about collecting great pieces and building a wardrobe, that’s my philosophy.”
Having recently celebrated their 30th anniversary, the Herve Leger brand is headed in a fun and fresh direction. Progressing past, but not dismissing their signature bandage dress, the Herve Leger spring collection explored proportions while incorporating familiar style lines and textures. The brand toyed with the idea of separates, and offered looks such as a jacquard dress with matching capelet and black floor length skirt paired with a white blouse, an innovative take on high fashion at Neiman Marcus.
Fellow New Jerseyan Helen Morley is famous for her couture evening gowns which featured intricate lace details. Her spring/summer looks were, “an evolution of past collections,” Morley said. “The idea is that simple is beautiful, and also sophisticated.” In Morley’s designs, the fabric spoke first while her silhouettes remained classic and timeless. Her gowns are most commonly seen on mothers of the bride and groom, and successfully walk a fine line between modern and age appropriate. “Women just want to look like the most fabulous versions of themselves,” Morley added.
Makeup for the models was provided by Trish McEvoy, and each look was consistent with the “less is more” spring/summer trend, featuring dewy skin and defined lash lines. And in order to achieve that signature glow, resident Trish McEvoy artist for Neiman Marcus at Garden State Plaza, Dana Romano, used the Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Serum. Models also wore Frederic Sage jewelry, full of colorful and diverse gems that co-president Brian Sage proudly admitted are one of a kind. “What makes us different from most designers is that we try to the capture beauty and essence of every stone.” It was with those additions and final touches that each look felt complete, and more importantly, highlighted the designs.