Elise Øverland Fall 2011 Review

Elise Overland Johnny Weir Fall 2011 RTW

Photos: Getty Images

Johnny Weir models a look in the Elise Øverland Fall 2011 presentation.

SHOW: Elise Øverland

THEME: Arctic confections served with attitude

ACCESSORIES: Shoes by Alejandro Ingelmo

HAIR: David Cruz for Tresemmé

MAKEUP: Napoleon Perdis

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: Johnny Weir brings exuberance to Øverland’s wintry pastel fantasia, which was performed on ice.

The frosty fantasy of Elise Øverland’s Fall 2011 presentation at the Standard hotel’s newly installed skating rink carried its chill to the spectators, who shivered outside as they gawked at an unusual spectacle: models on ice.

Actually, they weren’t real models (in case their diminutive stature and considerable skating acumen didn’t give it away); they were hired skaters from Chelsea Piers’s own Ice Theatre.

“Please, runway models weren’t allowed near this show!” Øverland quipped backstage after the presentation. “They can’t skate and their agencies were afraid they’d catch cold!”

The change in cast—as well as setting, audience, and overall mood—suits the designer this season. “I couldn’t bear to do another catwalk show,” she said. “I said to myself, ‘If I don’t find a way to change this up, I need to switch industries.’”

Fortunately for fashion, Øverland found her salvation in the domain of ice—as an aesthetic and as a sport. She had her dancers, her rink, and her star: Johnny Weir, the most flamboyant Olympian in history and an unofficial fashion muse, christened her Fall 2011 presentation with a show-stopping performance that will certainly go down as one of the week’s highlights.

Elise Overland Fall 2011 RTW

Photo: Imaxtree

Looks from the Elise Øverland Fall 2011 collection.

But to focus on the fashion, for a moment. The collection, fittingly, seemed based on a surreal vision of arctic confections—the palette was pastel but lurid, not dainty.

“I was thinking of liquid ice, dripping desserts, glacé hues,” Øverland said. “These are pastels about strength—and sex.” And movement. With the skaters perpetually figure-eighting the rink, it took some time to actually see the details of the collection, which blurred into a pleasingly psychedelic blaze.

Øverland’s signature staples balanced out the experimentation: Her beloved leather outerwear was paraded to full effect (the skaters, unlike their onlookers, must have been downright toasty), but aside from the Norwegian designer’s typically noirish shades, blazers, vests and overcoats appeared in unconventional dessert hues like lime, strawberry and peach. Fur chubbies and leather hoods felt more season appropriate in black and burnt ocher, and brought the frosty fantasy back to dry ground.

Though the collection was whimsical, the Weir factor was impossible to upstage. Øverland’s presentation will go down as the moment Johnny Weir skated as a disco-glam Edward Scissorhands. His hair a beautiful raven’s nest, his eyes done in a Black Swan–worthy eyeliner mask, the young dynamo flitted across the ice like a nocturnal butterfly to the rumbling sounds of his own music (the very Adam Lambert–esque “Dirty Love”).

His look—a silver jacquard floor-length coat crested with Nordic furs, metal cuirass, and elegant black trousers—came together literally hours before the show, he explained after his performance.

“I gave Elise full creative control,” he said breathlessly. “We’re both Norwegian and wanted my costume to be icy and powerful. Like a Viking warrior.”