The New York Post calls her “the most important designer you’ve never heard of”. She is Barbara Tfank, who launched her eponymous label in 2001, and has since been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Adele.
Tfank’s styles are very retro and glamorous, dresses you’d see on Mad Men, or could totally picture being worn by Jackie O. From slim waist cocktail dresses to cropped jackets and capris, the collection stands out as a unique throwback to the days of pure elegance, in both casual and formal settings.
I approached Tfank’s building, between Park and Madison Avenues. I was greeted in the lobby and took the elevator up to the penthouse, an amazing space that seemed to never end. Although crowded, the space was impeccable, and the collection was presented on models milling about the space and on the terrace, as perhaps a real wearer of the line would do.
The fabrics are also reminiscent of the golden age, with organza, chiffon, and silk being used most prominently. The cuts range from a-line to full flowing, and the colors and patterns ran the spectrum from subtle pinks to neon floral prints.
As I walked around taking in both the collection and the setting, I noticed a small crowd gathered at the doorway of the main bedroom. I peeked in and saw it was a photo shoot for Vogue, and the models were entering in sets of three to participate. Directing the shoot was Andre Leon Talley, wearing one of his signature lush robes.
Tfank says her inspiration for the Spring/Summer 2013 collection was drawn from photographer Slim Aarons, who was famous for photographing celebrities and socialites in the 1950s and 60s. His photos captured some of the most beautiful, elegant, sophisticated moments of celebrities. Tfank wanted to combine the timeless elegance with comfortable luxury, making her collection appropriate for a formal dinner, or hosting a party. As Vogue puts it: “the perfect attire for afternoon tea, cocktails, and candlelit dinners”.