after fall/winter's witches wonderland, designer luella bartley did a complete 180 degree turn for spring/summer 2009. gone were the dark colour palette and gothic elements of the previous season and in turn it was replaced with ruffles, frills, and lace in every colour of the rainbow. such a drastic departure from a previous collection might be a risky move for some other designers, but the always present quirkiness, charm, and girlish nonchalance bartley manages to inject with all her collections has become the cornerstone with which she has successfully built her company. optimism has been a major buzz word floating around not just in new york but in london as well this season. perhaps because of all the talks about the failing economy and resulting sobriety from last season has maybe made people realize that that reaction might've been quite premature. this is fashion after all and if there is anything fashion can do to remedy the sombre global mood is make things that make people smile and fantasize. the new territory bartley explored this season is the idea of complete outfits. whereas in previous outings where bartley's success stemmed from producing covetable independant pieces that her legion of fans can incorportate in their already existing wardrobe, this time she sent down a matching tweed suit, or at least coats worn over dresses in the same hue. although she also showed floral blouses with striped pants on the same runways, the complimentary colours and patterns didn't actually scream eccentric, it was more along the lines how lacroix is able to combine prints and colours and make it look sophisticated. underneath that guise of sophistication however is a lolita-esque quality. little short dress with ruffle tier in girlish floral prints had a little bit of humorous perversity. while this collection at first glance appears to be more grown up, it actually seems more like how a little girl plays dress up with her mother's clothes and pearls. a memory i'm sure grown women never forget and always manages to put a smile on their face.