Before Elene Cassis sent models down the runway she sent a violinist (solo artist Sarah Charness). Playing a concerto. In a little black dress. Then came the models, in a series of sleek, sheath cocktail dresses — with color-blocking and bold graphic lines that crisscross, like in a Mondrian painting — that has become the young designer’s signature.
Cassis, a Long Island native, has a penchant for the asymmetrical. So her pink-and-black short-sleeve dress has one black sleeve. Another dress with a keyhole front has just one sleeve. Or there’s the white number with one long black stripe on either side, at random moments each turning off at right angles.
The overall look feels very 1960s mod, especially the dresses with graphic elements in black and white. She includes pops of color — coral, a soft aqua, canary yellow and the occasional print (no girly florals or paisleys here — her tastes run more to the geometric or abstract).
Her necklines also are unusual: In an aqua “rolled-collar” sleeveless sheath, the collar curls down in front and back. The “oversize collar sheath” ties like a robe, all nipped in at the waist and cozy. And a coral one-shoulder sheath has a shawl collar along the one strap that curls up by the neck. It’s fun, but if you slip this one on, be prepared for the inevitable: People will no doubt reach out to flatten the collar back down, assuming it flipped up by accident. Just try to remember — they mean well.