Elene Cassis is famous for her classic, structured looks.  “I think it probably has to do with my personality,” she told me, just before her show at Mercedes-Benz Fall 2011 Fashion Week.  “I’m a Virgo.  We like our ducks in a row and we like structure.”

For a designer about to put on her second show, and make her debut in the Lincoln Center tents, she was remarkably calm, her backstage peacefully quiet.  “I hide it well,” she said, “it’s all inside.”

The looks were as ordered as she was, with a kind of timeless elegance, fit for women of just about age.  There was a lot of black and white, her favorite, but also bright pops of color: silver, burgundy, and Mondrian-style color blocking.

There is a real talent in being able to create sophisticated styles suited to so many women.  Every look was rich in fabric and design.  It was up to Amit Abraham for L’Oreal Professionnel to create hair that could complement Cassis’s designs.  “We know that Elene is known for her structure in all of her clothing,” he told me.  “So we wanted to use that.”  The hair was dramatic in the front, then soft, loose and fluid in the back.”

The same was true for the models’ makeup, by Bobbi Brown.  “Dewy” was the order of the day, with luminous skin, pink, flushed cheeks and barely-there beige lips, simple enough to let the clothes shine.

Elene, a one-time gymnast, turned-designer, said she was inspired by the New York City skyline, and her designs represent a woman’s strength.  “Actually, I was born in New York,” she said.  “There’s so much energy here.”

I found Elene Cassis kind of by accident last season.  I received an invitation to her show at Exit Art on the very last day of Fashion Week.  She’s seamlessly moved from designing very young clothes to almost universal styles.  I can’t wait to see what next season holds.

Photography: Anton Brookes

To see interviews with Elene Cassis and her beauty team, and to see video of her runway show, click on the Red Stiletto icon below

camera:  Scott Fetterman/Chad Cooper     edit:  Scott Fetterman

music:  Tony Di Pietro……voiceover: Rachel Ann Pierce

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