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Sharon Wauchob

The evening before moving her Pre-Fall collection to a historic 17th-century church where it would be photographed, Sharon Wauchob kept returning to the idea of her clothing being sincere. That idea is as subjective as it is abstract, but it encouraged this reviewer to observe the way the designer’s pieces were started (cut on the bias) or finished (fins of raw-edged lace). It also allowed Wauchob to take creative license when drawing from late ’60s references, in particular, Jeanloup Sieff’s sultry images of Charlotte Rampling and Jane Birkin. Derivative is definitely not sincere.

In broadest terms, the collection explored the duality of free-spirited femininity and precise detailing. Wauchob ever so slightly updated her mainstay fluid silhouettes by working in diagonal lines, whether as panels of ivory lace streaming across a skirt or dress; zippers angling down jacket torsos; blouse collars leaning longer; or seams tracing the bias. With Wauchob, it’s often difficult to differentiate lace from embroidery (or even from knit, as with one striated lace). When she employs them simultaneously—and needless to say, always by hand—the result demands sincerest praise. The sole question mark: pants breaking in a slight flare at the calf, if only because they can’t promise the same universally flattering fit as her signature lean length.

If last season’s fringe stuck out as an anomaly in Wauchob’s subdued approach to surface detail, Pre-Fall’s rows of ringed Italian hardware (three across a sturdy suede coat, one marking the hipline of a kilt) confirm she is enjoying the challenge of assertive ornamentation. Expect retailers to respond accordingly.

—Amy Verner,

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