Markarian manifests Old Hollywood glamour at Fashion Week
The brand’s fourth in-person show celebrated cinematic whimsy in the West Village. 

Designer Alexandra O’Neill threw the most intimate of gatherings for Markarian’s Fall/Winter 2023 presentation at a house in the West Village. The venue, 632 on Hudson — which spanned over three floors connected by a wooden spiral staircase and was complete with a working bar —  offered a rare opportunity to scrutinize the brand’s handwork in detail.

Inside, guests were met by a jazz band playing softly while sunlight poured in from the skylight overhead. Flowers were draped over the staircase, so many that it appeared as if they were wild, growing from the ground and hanging along the banister of the 1930s interior.

O’Neill’s thoughtfulness was apparent. The designer embraced signature elements of Markarian’s style — patterned florals, tufted sleeves, and floor-length skirts with asymmetrical tops and finely worked jet beading — into the art salon-style experience, creating a sense of charm and glamor that could easily have been lost in the flurry of a runway show.

On the first floor, a model wearing a black off-the-shoulder dress with roses sat at a wooden table, teaching another model who wore the same dress in a different cut how to shuffle cards. The playing cards were exclusive to Markarian and were later given out as a parting gift.

Another model wearing a halter-top version of the rose dress lay out on a maroon daybed next to them, playing with cherries placed on a silver bowl atop the crushed velvet bedding. The rose fabric lining the wooden cabinets behind the women matched each of their dresses, and there was even a single rose pillow that served as a pop of color on the dark bed.

Stephanie Jackson, a model who sat in one of the first rooms, praised Markarian’s work.

“The collection is beautiful,” Jackson said. “The fabrics feel so nice on the skin that when I walk around — it feels like I’m floating on air.”

Floating down the staircase came an ensemble of models, each standing tall at the bottom of the stairs before walking through a crowd that jostled for better views of the clothing.

Upstairs, the kitchen served cocktails to attendees. Men in suits and ties carried platters of martinis, and one model donning a sequined blue pantsuit with flowing sleeves and an open collar swiveled around to grab one, posing in the process. Next to her, a model stretched her arm out against a bar counter lined with pink tequila and turned to face us in a black, peacoat-esque dress with silver detailing.

With well-dressed attendees filing into the small hallway, seeing the dresses on the top floor proved to be a challenge. Elizabeth Gillies, from the hit show “Victorious,” stood at the top of the staircase, looking down at musician Caroline Vreeland, who took over from the jazz band to sing a cover of “Moondance” by Van Morrison.

“I’m actually trying to find the collection,” Gillies said. She laughed as she looked around at the guests squeezing past the models. “Markarian has been one of my favorite designers to wear for a very long time. I have a little waist and boobs and a butt, and it suits all of it. The brand makes me feel like an Old Hollywood movie star.”

This may have been exactly the brand’s point. In a world where everyone wants to be different, O’Neill hit the mark by presenting the collection in a way that no one would expect. Whether it was by placing the collection by vintage hairbrushes and hand-held mirrors or having the models lounge around the storied house, Markarian perfectly embodied the Old Hollywood glamour of relaxation.


Article originally published on Washington Square News. Photo by Manasa Gudavalli for WSN. 

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