Eye-popping geometric patterns, feminine silhouettes, and retro styles have long been part of the Holly Fulton canon, and Spring/Summer 2016’s exuberant and detailed looks were the best possible version of her signature aesthetic. Working in a controlled, tailored silhouette fitted with feminine details and keyhole cutouts, Fulton teased out a nouveau-mod look that flattered and enhanced the female form. It goes without saying that the mesmerizing patterns in the collection were extremely well done, and Fulton owes that entirely to the pioneering female surrealist Eileen Agar, whose paintings provided the inspiration for the collection’s colorful starfish, pinwheel, and swirling abstract appliqués. Even the palette paid homage to Agar’s art by mimicking her kaleidoscopic combinations of citron, Yale blue, navy, pink, powder blue, and coral.
The show opened with a smart sleeveless sheath in a summery shade of grass green that was touched with graphic appliqués, which mimicked the asymmetrical ruffles that ran along the front of the dress. This motif was to be repeated often throughout the collection, as the shape and placement of the appliqués reflected the cut and tailoring of each look. In addition to Fulton’s feminine, decorative dresses were a series of colorful, boxy jackets featuring embossed details, while pencil skirts, high-waisted trousers, button-ups, tunic vests, and more were enlivened with the designer’s take on Agar’s work. For fancier occasions, Fulton ramped up pattern work with multi-colored embroidering that added shape and contour to the bodice of fit-and-flare minis, while closing looks featured patterned motifs, keyhole cutouts, and midi-length full skirts. Nouveau-mod takes relics of the past and injects them with new life and more precise technique, and Fulton is championing the movement and furthering the potential for a new exploration of pattern mixing.