Walking into Sally LaPointe's runway show at Center 548 was a bit like entering a very stylish haunted house, with smoke machines obscuring visibility even across the rows of seats. An enormous, crumbling wall -- built by Sally and her team -- allowed light to cut through the room in piercing rays, and glittered off the swaying, crystal chandeliers.
The eerie atmosphere was appropriate to LaPointe's inspiration: the Renwick Ruins, an infamous abandoned smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island. Those who've seen the building in person will agree that its decrepit exterior and peeling paint chips make it a nightmarish thing to behold. But in its decay, LaPointe saw something romantic, even a little sentimental.
"For spring, I wanted to convey something ghostly -- a felt presence," LaPointe told us backstage. "But not scary, exactly. I wanted there to be a softness, in it, too." Interestingly, LaPointe's edgy inspiration yielded her most feminine collection to date, abandoning her usual stark black palette for dusty taupe, neon yellow and watercolor-like prints.
But the collection is also one of her most complex. The architectural silhouettes -- in particular, the exaggerated hips and shoulders -- are even more striking in this new, lighter palette. For example, the unusual shape of a belted, Samurai-like trouser is far more dramatic in bright chartreuse than it would have been in black.
Gaga has historically been an important patron of the designer's work, and there were plenty of outrageous looks for the pop-star to love in this line. Happily, there were also more sidewalk-friendly pieces, so we non-famous folks can get finally share a little LaPointe love.