Markarian Pre-Fall 2023 Collection

It’s been another big year for Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill. Naomi Biden Neal wore a custom Markarian design at her own wedding reception. Closer to home, the designer moved to a new skylit studio downtown and staged her first full-on fashion show for spring.

That show would have benefited from an organizing narrative structure; happily one was in place for pre-fall. “I basically started off this collection with Fellini and did a little nod to La Dolce Vita,” O’Neill explained. The designer paid homage to Anita Ekberg’s sexy black Trevi Fountain costume with a curvy strapless column picked out in rhinestones with and a tiny ruffle at the bust, but overall the collection channeled an early 1960s party vibe.

O’Neill’s familiar warped florals made an appearance, shown alongside some blister lamé fabrics and a deco flower motif that on some looks was over-beaded. A bit more casual and leaning toward a retro Italian Riviera vibe were the pieces made in black-and-white gingham. The outlier was the single psychedelic piece, though it was a marvel of handicraft. Like several other dresses in the collection this dress was in what O’Neill called an “uber mini” length. These short options fit like a glove in a different way than the pieces with inner corseting, but in both cases the sense of being supported somehow felt reassuring rather than oppressive.

Speaking of a particular look, O’Neill said, “It’s not one of those pieces you have to really fidget in, although it looks like it’s maybe a little bit fussy.” The point being, as super feminine as a Markarian dress may be it is also an easy, one-and-done proposition for dressing up.

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