story by Lisa Radano
photos by udor
On a deck of The Standard Hotel, overlooking The High Line in the late summer sun, I watched as the wind picked up quite suddenly. Anything not taped down, including champagne flutes, had dedicated minions running chase to prevent disaster. Did that frazzle Katharine Polk, designer of Houghton? No way. “I’m a very positive person. When the people who work with me come running up to me telling me there’s some sort of problem, I always say, ‘oh no no. No problem.’ What can I say? I’m just an optimistic girl.” Sure enough, that problem wind settled down just in time, as did the audience on their benches. Magic hour gave a golden halo to the models that stepped cautiously but optimistically onto the tree-lined runway.
French lace in black was put to lovely use on a pea coat, a romper, trousers tapered and billowy, a coat over a bikini, and a pantsuit with a sheer appliquéd (in all the right places) black blouse. White lace showed up as a slouchy pajama suit, a crop top over tapered trousers and a dazzling knee length open back cocktail dress. Some of the models’ more private curves were visible but presumably just for the fun of the moment. A few embroidered silk dresses, shirtwaist and cocktail, all kept close to the body, as did most looks, though several floral and Ikat silk prints were a bit more draped. The last passage of evening dresses reprised all the previous fabrications, but with higher wattage. Long, mostly lean columns with open backs, embroidery, hand beading and décolletage, were shown in black, blue, floral, white and liquid pewter. These were shiny, sparkly, showy dream come true gowns, whether for a chic wedding on the beach or a red carpet. Afterwards in the crush for the elevators, I asked Anna Chlumsky of HBO’s “Veep” what she might pick from the collection. Her face lit up in a huge smile – “I don’t know! I loved it all!” Must be she’s an optimistic girl as well.