Milly Evokes Summer Romance at New York Fashion Week

One of the first things I thought of when I saw Michelle Smith's pieces backstage for her Milly Spring/Summer 2016 collection was how much the textures of the fabrics and the tones of the colors she used reminded me of the beach. I thought of beach houses specifically, long summer days spent watching the sun going down in an explosion of oranges and yellows over a cerulean ocean from a clean white porch. I thought about the architectural elements of the porch, the solid white wood banisters, next to the amorphous, beautifully shapeless chaos of the ocean. Because really, this season Smith has given us the clothing embodiment of these experiences.

She uses crisp poplin and twill to form loose but cleanly lined shapes and denim linen for more fluid constructions. The collection is peppered with stripes and scribbles that evoke not just nautical elements (a gorgeous gown made of various diagonal stripes of white and blue with a plunging neckline) but the setting sun (another gown, midi length, of ochre chevron jacquard with a similar plunging v shape).

Called "Modern Love," Smith was inspired by "the raw beauty of midsummer romance," both "sleek and undone." This collection is reminiscent of the way summer undoes us a little bit—loosens our boundaries and increases our desire for exploration of ourselves and one another. We reveal parts of ourselves we might not normally, and Smith tells this story through her clothes (a bare stomach on a deconstructed shirtdress, or a navy linen dress whose neckline drops to the navel in a perfect V, for example).

The beauty looks for the collection reflected Smith's desire for a "sensual juxtaposition of soft and structured," with hair in a slicked-back wet look held together by a small gathering of hair in the back, by Recine for Beauty.com using PHYTO products. Mousse was slicked into the hair with gel, hairspray and protective sun oil for a just-stepped-out-of-the-ocean appearance. Makeup, by Romy Soleimani for Beauty.com using Kevyn Aucoin products, had a similar feel, with just a touch of glow on the cheeks, brow pencil, and tinted balm for a tanned, post-beach look. Nails by Nonie Creme using Colour Prevails were a shiny ballerina pink on the fingertips and matte on the toenails. The look evokes that feeling of spending all day in the sun then taking a shower and cuddling up for the evening on the same porch that inspired your dress.

It's sad that it's September already; this collection makes me want to rewind a few months to the summer and live it as elegantly as one would in a Milly ensemble.

Milly by Michelle Smith SS16 from Windsor Western on Vimeo.