“A best friend of mine invited me to Jamaica to stay with him in a private home in Montego Bay where Marilyn Monroe used to vacation, and it was amazing, amazing,” said designer Sophie Theallet backstage before her show today, her eyes catching fire at the memory. “So I came back to New York feeling inspired by what I really loved there—the reggae music, the colors—and, with the things I learned in Paris, I translated all of the feelings I had for the island into a chic, chic collection. Because I didn’t want it to go that bohemian way. I wanted it to be chic.”
The reggae-funk that played during the show was the first signal to tip off Theallet’s theme. Then came shoes, strappy sandals designed in collaboration with Jean-Michel Cazabat, and thick leather belts done in Rastafarian yellow, red, and green. (Hint: Get a belt for spring. And if you can’t get a belt, get a rope, or a tie, or a piece of fabric—anything—and knot it around your waist. You’ll be glad you did.) Stripes (wavy and straight), eyelet—“worn traditionally to church on Sundays,” Theallet says, but with underlayers of brightly colored or metallic fabric on her runway—and a botanical print that the designer called her version of “the Jamaican flower” (wink, wink), mixed and mingled in looks made not for beaches, but other, more formal environs.