It’s easy to see why Tadashi Shoji is a red-carpet go-to designer.  His formal wear is breathtaking, inventive and it always makes the woman wearing it look even better.  But what gets lost, I think, is just how good his ready-to-wear is. His bright prints and incredible design is beyond flattering.

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This season, Shoji took us on a trip around the world, sampling bits and pieces he found along the way.  Moving from SoCal to Shanghai, we were treated to the delights of stops he made on his journey.  Dresses in bright blues and oranges featured intricate prints and immaculate tailoring. He even threw in some shorts, which was a bit unexpected, but beautiful.

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Next stop: delicate lace in lighter-than-air pants and dresses that could have come from the sewing rooms of France.  Then it was on to the desert for long dresses and gowns, one in a sand that was so gentle compared to the pops of color that followed.  Stripes in tribal colors moved us along to map in this fantastic journey, one in the most amazing shades of green I’ve ever seen, another in blue jewel tones.  A group of dresses in a fabric that almost looked tie-dyed were young, feminine and gorgeous.

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But it’s when you get back to evening wear that Shoji shines even brighter.  Some were embellished with flowers, others were sheer and light.  But one gown, with the brightest blue print top and matching chiffon skirt was, well, magnificent.  He used the same effect in black with tiers and tiers of ruffles, and then, again in pink.

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There are so many new, young designers out there, many doing great things.  But when you see this mix of design, tailoring and texture in the hands of a master like Tadashi Shoji, you see what true experience, talent, and a design aesthetic that develops over time can bring to a runway, and a red carpet.  And it is truly special.

Photography: Anton Brookes

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