Today’s Spring 2011 collection by industry veteran Tadashi Shoji had its highs and its lows. It was in a venue called The Box in a format called a “presentation”, which means no runway and no music. Instead the collection is showcased by a group of 25 models standing (mostly) still against a theatrical backdrop. I was not expecting the collection to be showcased in this way so my heart sank when we walked into the room.

A catwalk show is so exciting — the lights dim, the music explodes and your heart races in anticipation as you wait for the first few models to walk down that runway. When a collection is showcased in the form of a standing presentation such as this one, you don’t get the same rush of excitement at all. The clothes don’t move, the collection is revealed in one go, and the lack of music feels bizarre.

I was also rather surprised to see a particularly young model take center stage in the presentation (short lace ruched sleeve oyster frock). She couldn’t really fill out the dress and seemed a little shy compared to her peers. Perhaps that was the persona Tadashi wanted her to project, but to me it felt out of place.

Viewing a collection presentation style does have it’s advantages too. You get to see the clothes up close and I savored every detail. Tadashi Shoji’s fairly unstructured masterpieces were inspired by the Renaissance frescos of Piero della Francesca and Botticelli. They are extremely soft, feminine and romantic. Tiered layers, ruching and draping, one shoulder styling, ruffles and rosette detailing dominated the silhouettes. That is totally opposite to the rigid military and menswear inspired themes which are all over stores right now.

Tadashi kept his palette pastel using varying shades of oyster, beige, antique pink, grey and lilac. Its only the first show, so I don’t know if this means that pastels will be strong for Spring. Even though the overall look of the collection was not to my personal taste, it was inspiring to behold.

The best, best, best part of this collection was getting to within a few feet of Tadashi himself. A killer moment! This would never have happened during a runway show. The man has an infectious smile and looked so hip in his ink blue military jacket and tinted specs. I had to restrain myself from not jumping in on other people’s camera action to give him a hug. I did manage to stand right behind him though. Very fab!

There were also a few celebrities at the show and one of them is embracing Tadashi in the picture. Apart from the fabulous model in the lilac dress, I think that the celebrity looked better than any of the models in the collection. She was stunning!