Alessandro Dell’Acqua invented a new fashion category with his No. 21 show tonight: military rococo. A khaki shirt belted over a pencil skirt in swirling, ornately sequined macramé defined the idea. It wasn’t the only look that married opposites. “Disdain for convention” is, according to the press release for today’s show, a Dell’Acqua signature. Equally typical of the designer were this collection’s sheer lace looks worn with men’s shirting, the lingerie and pajama daywear, classic tartan turned see-through organza…all of it belted tightly together in combinations as unlikely as the bourgeois Milanese matron, uptight on the surface, rotten to the core, who is Dell’Acqua’s enduring inspiration. Folksy macramé will never be the same after its incarnation here, in a sparkling, decadently lurid green.
Dell’Acqua walks a tightrope, though. Bad girls might cock a sassy snook at propriety, but sometimes dressing bad is just that: bad. Could anyone really fancy themselves in an ill-fitting bralet that swoops just low enough to expose a corona of nipple? OK, the line is probably forming to the right as those words appear, but it’s not a trend to be encouraged. The footwear compounded the awkwardness. Duchesse mules were tied in big bows slung to one side that made the models look off-balance, like they were walking with feet splayed wide. Mind you, such an ungainly effect did indeed display a disdain for convention.