No. 21 Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear

No. 21 Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear

Alessandro Dell’Acqua looked a bit tense yesterday, minutes before the No. 21 show. “I took a big risk, breaking the mold I have created myself,” he said. “It was time, I think. Freedom was high on my agenda. I’d like to convey a clear message of fashion as an amusing expression of personality. We can do that in Milano, too.”

Dell’Acqua delivered. Save for the logos that were splattered here and there, turning into mere signs, the collection looked very different than his usual offerings. Gone were the graphic lines, the stiffness and the modularity of what once looked more or less like an expression of Instagram fashion, so to speak. So far, No. 21 has been all about an image that looks good, and super-basics in challenging, firm fabrications. It celebrated the man-made over the organic.

Not anymore. Here forms got bigger and softer and textures more tactile, while layering replaced the idea of the flat collage. There were skirts, too: many of them, and totally plausible. It all came across as lived in and real: There was an air of surfer’s slouch to the whole, which made for progress in the right direction.

The collection—whose standouts were the gigantic bombers and cropped overalls—will surely sell well. What was lacking, however, was real innovation, despite surface impressions. All in all, looks felt referential. There were too many echoes of both Rick Owen’s deconstruction and Juun.J’s big volumes, with some Helmut Lang modernism thrown in for good measure. Alessandro Dell’Acqua can handle change in a much more impactful way.

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