Andrea Mary Marshall set out her agenda for spring in 12 precisely edited looks. It was a power move that suited her collection, which took inspiration from the ’80s, and her surefire process. “I love putting the looks together,” said the designer on a walkthrough, “they’re all styled in my sketches.”
Marshall, who hails from Boston, and has a dual career as a respected self-portraitist, is a Parsons grad who launched her line during the pandemic. (It takes its name from the exhibition at which John Singer Sargent’s painting of Madame X shocked the public, and this collection, like those before it, featured a black column dress that seemed to nod to the scandalous frock in the portrait.) Spring is the first season Salon 1884 is not exclusive to Neiman Marcus, and Marshall said that she wanted to set a precedent with this more “fashion forward” offering.
Based on Marshall’s debut collection, which included a very Martha Graham dress and trousers you could imagine Katharine Hepburn wearing, one might have expected something more in the way of “quiet luxury.” There are many more pieces in the collection than are presented in the lookbook, some of which lean in that direction, but the lone smart shorts suit here felt like a piece apart. The overall mood was more assertive and sexy, reflecting the more-is-more decade. “For me, the ’80s feel right for Salon because it’s still a woman who is healthy, she’s taking care of herself,” said Marshall.“I want to make sure that I’m not creating silhouettes that feel too uncomfortable to wear.” Regarding the patent leather trench coat, which had an air of sophistication and dissipation that speaks to Marshall’s inner punk perfectionist, she said, “it’s not something you’re going to wear every day, but it still for me emphasizes a stronger, healthier body.” These are encouraging words to hear, especially after a month of watching stick-thin models walk the runways.
“I think there’s always a part of me that likes to bust out,” said Marshall. That’s certainly the M.O. of Grace Jones, who Marshall was thinking of when she dreamed up the wide, winged, sculptural belt that cinched the waist of a black leather dress with a triangular bib detail at the neckline. It was also paired with a white draped dress in an airy windowpane linen with handkerchief points at the hem at left and right. That look best encapsulated Marshall’s interest in early Japanese fashion and the New Romantics, who inspired the inverted triangle silhouette used in two ways, soft and structured. This was a dressed-up collection that achieved a nice balance and a succinct point of view.