Jill Stuart Spring 2013: Channeling Barbara Stanwyck

One day next spring, you receive a gilded envelope in the mail. It’s from your great-aunt, the Dowager Priscilla. For her 90th birthday, she’s inviting the entire clan to the family estate for the weekend.

Question: What to pack?

Answer: Easy. Jill Stuart.

This collection is what the modern urbanista imagines when she finds herself in need of an old money scrub-up. Poised and poetic, it renders a floral motif in a spectrum of gentle neutrals (black, nude, cream, white) and luxurious textures (lace, brocade, silk charmeuse).

Embroidered flowers unfurl across sheer lace dresses, which skim the body before flaring above the calf. Lace turns into brocade, in pantsuits prettily nipped at the waist and cropped at the ankle. Dainty appliqued paillette flowers flutter from white shifts.

Then, just when it starts to feel a bit damsel, the collection turns to dame: luxuriant silk charmeuse dresses, gowns and wide trousers in shimmering neutrals, with sumptuous bows in matching shades or in contrasting pops of magenta and teal. They swing at the front and back waist, sling low on relaxed pyjama pants or around smoking jackets. Skin teases through cutouts at the neck and shoulders. Backless gowns and plunging necklines drape easy, conveying languid glamour.

It’s a throwback to the winking seduction of the 1940s, straight off the back of that iconic bad girl scrubbed good: Barbara Stanwyck.

Like Barbara, you’d wear it well: the cuts are forgiving, the fabrics flattering. And you’d have fun: nothing stiff or precious here.

Watching you swan back and forth past the champagne fountain, your ever-full glass in one hand and your cigarette holder in the other, the Dowager Priscilla would be impressed.

‘Girl’s got game,’ she’d smile to herself. If she keeps dressing like this, one day she might be a dowager too.

Video: Jill Stuart Spring 2013

video by Inga Vascenkova / Meniscus Magazine