Bursting onto the bridal market several years ago as a veritable gust, rather than breath of fresh air, the Houghton NYC show remains one of our most anticipated bridal week events. With a signature aesthetic that can only be described as 'unexpected', this is the label who pioneered midriff revealing two piece gowns, (imitated by all since), tulle skirts paired with white tees and tailored jumpsuits for insouciant brides. With their last few collections championing an utterly modern mix of chic, almost minimalist separates, this Spring 2016 collection, a bohemian odyssey through different decades and tribes, certainly delivered on the beautifully 'unexpected' front that we have come to love from this label.
In an unassuming industrial space, a waiting tableau of models was revealed, arranged as a still life like portrait of nomadic, gypset beauties, suffused with touches of tribal and seventies nostalgia. Eclectic in influence and silhouettes, fabrics and styling this is a collection that spanned space and time, almost a hit-list of gowns and separates for the bohemians at heart, who dream of having lived different lives through different decades, a collection of dresses drawn from everywhere you ever travelled and everything you have ever loved.
Fur, fringing, tassels and capes, tribal embellished breastplates and exaggerated peplums. At first glance this playful collection of fabrics and global styling leaves you slightly unsure how it all comes together…a feeling that these pieces shouldn't work quite so well, quite so brilliantly, and yet they do. Inherent in everything they touch, this is the 'Houghton effect' for us, the name conjuring a particular type of woman, an apparent effortlessness in everything they do.
A heavenly tint of blush hued silk in both sculpted and billowing silhouettes shines as an alternative to white, cascading in sensual, peachy tiers. Florals in diaphanous silks on a silvery base, a weightlessly ethereal confection of cascading, laser cut flowers whose movement needs to be seen to be believed, offered a bohemian dream of a printed gown. And the show stopper for us, a short, breathtakingly beautiful dress with swishing fringed hem, cascading sleeves and fabric made entirely of hand appliqued lace flowers - encrusted with moonstone crystals. We're enchanted by, dreaming of and seriously coveting this gown for ourselves…as non-brides.
In motion down the runway a consistency of movement emerges from the collection…a voluminous sleeve, an ethereal billow of chiffon, a slinky shimmer of satin, a seductive sashay of fringing. Although underpinned by a beautifully tight, beautifully unexpected colour palette, this movement, this thread of continuity weaving it all together reveals an attitude (rather than an aesthetic), an inimitable Houghton outlook. Dresses that offer that consistency, that extension of everyday style, effortlessly carried through to your wedding day, that we crave but that so few offer. Perfectly unexpected gowns for perfectly unexpected girls.