No. 21 Spring 2017 Menswear on Bessd

No. 21 Spring 2017 Menswear

For every designer on Earth, fashion shows are a double-edged sword. On one hand, designers have to endure the merciless pressure the staging of a fashion show can generate. On the other hand, those shows are the ultimate creative showcase for their vision. It’s a love-hate relationship from which, like all doomed affairs, apparently there’s no way out. Yet this season Alessandro Dell’Acqua bravely tried to extricate himself from such a conundrum, breaking free and setting a different personal velocity. He presented the No. 21 men’s collection in a showroom, scaling back the oomphs and hoopla and amping up the intimacy. “It’s a compact, more concentrated project this time,” he explained. “We made a video with photographer Richard Bush called Rave Trip; we cast a young cool boy and a girl. They could be friends, lovers, brother and sister—doesn’t matter. No makeup artist and no hairdresser, and they chose their clothes themselves directly from the racks. I wanted it to feel natural, carefree, real.”

The collection reflected this spirit and revolved around singular pieces that are also everyday staples in Dell’Acqua’s personal wardrobe. Oversized parkas, leather biker perfectos, buffalo checked shirts, nylon anoraks, big chunky knitwear sweaters; they were all given the Dell’Acqua treatment. That is: injections of quirky Hawaiian prints, silver foil techno trimmings, lace and appliques galore, plus jolts of cheerful, bright color. The mix had an urban, street style coolness and was seasoned with a slouchy, off-kilter, sexy vibe. The designer also introduced No. 21 Petite Taille, which means that girls will be able to get the very same items designed for the boys but in scaled down sizing. “It’s not about genderless manifestos, cross-dressing, unisex style,” grinned an amused Dell’Acqua. “It’s not the borrowed-from-the-boys trite stereotype either. Girls are girls: If they’d like to have a piece from my men’s collection, they can have it in the right fit. I’m just being practical here.”

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