For a man who was the official designer for Miss America and has become something of a red carpet staple, Tadashi Shoji hasn't rested on his customer base of Hollywood stylists and pageant girls. His Spring 2013 collection, described as a modern-day trip down the Silk Road, was not a thoughtless or simple gown-and-embellishment show. Shoji played with tissue-thin panels of his beloved Chantilly lace and Kazhakstani pastel ikat gazar which looked like magnified butterfly wings before reaching a proverbial China, where the painted Dunhuang caves and city of Xi'an inspired ruffly dusty hued tiered gowns.
Shoji loves his Chantilly lace (see Fall 2012), and works wonders with it, pairing bright shells of the stuff with white sheaths for an effect that calls painted Chinese porcelain to mind. Many of the cuts were nicked from the '40s and '50s--tea length hems and boatnecks were the prevailing silhouettes--and grew more billowy as the show went on.
The show soundtrack did nothing to dissuade people from sighing and doing that hand-to-the-heart head tilt thing they do when entranced--Beach House's "Myths" and Sigur Ros' "Glosoli" were an absolutely perfect core for a remix that set off the transistions and rhythyms for the collection quite powerfully.
It was a collection that could sheathe the likes of anyone from an Olsen twin to Miss Arkansas, which is a balancing act to say the least, and one that Shoji carried off very, very well.