Last summer, designer Alexandra O’Neill traveled to Tuscany, Italy, fell in love with a family-owned, 1500s-era villa just outside of Siena, and decided she would return the next year to shoot her look book. Over the following year, whenever O’Neill was picking out her fabrics or designing new styles, she had the villa (plus a few of her favorite summer Italian movies) in mind. The collection included feminine takes on romance, like an “Under the Tuscan Sun” burnt sienna gingham day dress or Nineties-inspired easy floral silk dresses à la her personal favorite, “Only You,” and Bertolucci’s “Stealing Beauty,” which was indeed partially shot at the designer’s villa muse.
While O’Neill’s inspiration provided the context for a beautifully romantic array, her biggest news came through her decision to mix her ready-to-wear and bridal collections together going forward.
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“I decided to fold bridal into this collection, so instead of doing six collections a year, I will do bridal options for each season. I put 10 bridal looks into this collection — it ended up being 15 if you fudge it a little bit — but it’s mostly rehearsal dinner dresses, after party dresses and some main-day dresses,” O’Neill expressed. “My client comes to me for more of the events surrounding the wedding, so that’s what I wanted to focus on this season.”
Both collections included beautiful painterly al fresco-inspired floral prints and tailoring, or “classic bones,” as O’Neill described, of the villa, like a strapless number with waterfall ruffle top and hem offered in both marigold and white. Newness for the season also came in the form of lace — a white babydoll dress with bow detail — and an expanded offering of great separates — a standout v-slit black top with puffed sleeves and matching trousers, pearl-encrusted gold chain belt slung across the waist.
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Launch Gallery: Markarian RTW Spring 2020