Shipley & Halmos: A Lesson in Understated Sophistication

Luigi Tadini

The third floor gallery in an unnamed building in Chelsea was the setting for Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos's show yesterday afternoon. A dreamlike maze of hypnotized models zig-zagged across the barren space.

This talented duo have been darlings of the fashion crowd for many seasons. Initially, they dove into the industry as part of the original quartet of founding fathers of one of my favorite West Coast labels, Trovata. Flash forward a handful of years, a heartfelt professional divorce and a move to New York City later to February 2008, when the duo traded the preppy Cali-style for something new. I suppose the buttoned-up flair of the East Coast has always been a driving force in their aesthetics. As part of Trovata they already understood the importance of story telling through their clothes. In their newest incarnation, they have learned the valuable lesson of fine editing and as a result, their Fall 2009 collection radiates with effortless elegance.

A sea of monochromatic hues and seemingly simple silhouettes where the canvas of the ultra cool collection. The 42-look presentation seemed to be a highbrow nod to a Post-Modern world dreamed up by the likes of Beckett. But the true splendor of it all lay in the simplicity of its trimmed silhouettes and delicate, frail and pale hints of color.

Some of my personal favorites included the perfect mauve rayon sweater, an impeccably cut charcoal wool pea coat, the creative combination of a sleek black silk blazer and a turtle neck under a plaid shirt, and finally a very light mauve silk tuxedo - surprisingly chic.

Although the color scheme was not entirely foreign to our grey-loving New York set, what set the collection apart from anything I've seen in recent seasons was their ability to infuse such romantic poetry in their minimalist designs. A thoughtful and fresh juxtaposition that is incredibly hard to master.

Like master perfumers, Shipley & Halmos extracted the purest essence of two opposing schools of styles and created something wonderfully new and sophisticated. Truly the work of talented young artists.


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