The Mood: Going to the chapel. Held inside the hidden St. Barnabas, Sophia Webster took a more serious and symbolist turn this season, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s gilt paintings. Gone were her usual jungle rave bass boom, neon lights and club kids. In their place were spoils of flowers in a state of artful decay, haunting models dressed with full-tilt poeticism by fellow designer Edward Meadham (one bride was especially haunting) and soft chamber hymns. “I went on a Tim Burton binge over the holidays,” she said of the filmmaker, whose influence was also felt in the noir mood. “It was Winona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz character in ‘Beetlejuice’ that particularly stuck with me.”
The Shoes: Also a departure. While Webster mainly stuck to her steel stiletto, platform sandal, Mary Jane flat and peep-toe bootie lasts, she wisely shifted her surface treatments away from gimmicky, towards a new gothic romance — a word that keeps popping up this season. “I was ready to show a more grown-up side of myself and the woman I am designing for,” she said of the collection. Innovation abounded. Instead of a regular brocade on block heels, hers was an embossed and metallicized leather. Instead of merely printing flowers on a shoe and calling it a day, the edges of hers followed the lines of the blooms. Same goes for paisley embroidery. Velvet and foiled rosettes also added lushness.
The Verdict: No growing pains here. Webster smartly edited her shoes to only the best in show this season. What emerged was her most heartfelt and fully realized collection yet.
Click through the gallery to see more of Sophia Webster’s fall ’16 collection.