Bright lights, big city. J. Mendel's urban-inspired Pre-Fall 2010 Collection. Photo: Courtesy of J. Mendel

J. Mendel Pre-Fall 2010

Inspiration: Designer Gilles Mendel took inspiration from Floriane de Lassée's photos of great cities by night. "Like the collection, there is a fine line between day and the evening. Day dresses have inserts of evening fabrics. The night is vibrant and electric. Colors change hue, lights turn gold."

Who Was There: Mary Alice Stephenson, Vogue's Hamish Bowles, editors, journalists, buyers, bloggers

Top looks: Red pleated evening gown with sheer back panel; hand-pleated Grecian cocktail dress; gold lamé one shoulder structured cocktail dress; hazy-green Finn raccoon cape, sable vest with removable stretch leather sleeves; black stretch jersey "ka-ching" dress

Accessories: A jewelry collaboration with Beavaldes – bib necklaces and cuffs with big stones and beading. Point d'esprit black stockings. Super high black suede Christian Louboutin ankle boots. Dramatic black eyes, slicked back hair falling into big formed curls.

What we thought: Mendel put together a strong concise collection of mean lines and soft folds. The overall feeling was a little 40's and a little 80's. And it was all about the city. There was a touch of the Chrysler building in the heroic neo-classical (i.e. Grecian) silhouettes of goddess gowns, and in details like a deco-style jeweled belt.

Other looks were straight out of "Bonfire of the Vanities" - a gold lamé, one-shoulder structured mini-dress with molded bodice, a red power gown, and strong peplum waists were seen on jackets and dresses. Body-con dresses in black stretch jersey, dark eye makeup, and slicked back hair contextualized the references into the now.

The J. Mendel tenets were still en force, with hand pleated silk mousseline cocktail dresses and gowns piped in gold, and a body flattering strapless ruched lamé number.

And there were of course, the furs. A feather-light Finn raccoon cape-with zig zag seams in gold thread--was at the top end. And a three fur cropped jacket - made of Russian Barguzin sable, silver fox and mink carried serious downtown appeal. In the sudden freezing temperatures yesterday, they were all very covetable options.