Marchesa Spring 2020 Fashion Review

Posted on 2nd Dec 2019

In the Marchesa showroom, you expect to see a few things: ruffles, 3-D flowers, and layer upon layer of floor-sweeping tulle. Spring 2020 was almost sleek in comparison, with its newly languid, curve-skimming lines. 

Georgina Chapman—now the solo designer of Marchesa, following cofounder Keren Craig’s departure this summer—found her inspiration in portrait photographer Ruth Harriet Louise, the only female photographer working in Hollywood in the ’20s. Her famous portraits of Greta Garbo, Nina Mae McKinney, and Joan Crawford were tacked on Chapman’s mood board and captured the freer, slimmer look women embraced at the time. There were other snippets of ’20s-era fashion, moody flower arrangements, and, of course, tons of Jazz Age glitz.


A few looks had sparkling trompe l’oeil embroideries, like the opening number: a sheer column covered in beads with a built-in satin shawl artfully draped around the bust. Another glittering “naked dress” appeared to have a black satin skirt knotted at the waist, but in fact it was all one piece. Other gowns simply felt lighter, as if they’d had some stuffing removed, such as the narrow beige column with fluttering marabou feathers and the vaguely Grecian sky blue dress with appliquéd flowers twisting around the torso. 

Not every look was so streamlined—fans of Marchesa’s signature ball skirts will still find a few here—but the new direction felt refreshing and relevant. Chapman is attuned to women’s changing tastes, and many of them want something less fussy and traditional. One dress occupied a nice middle ground between past and present: an ombré gown with cascading ruffles. 

From afar, it looked like many Marchesa dresses we’ve seen before, but peer closer and the edges were left unfinished and fraying. It lent a raw, unprecious quality to something quite familiar, and it’s a concept Chapman should continue to explore in the coming seasons.


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