As a legion of thirtysomething designers assumes seniority, expressions of a new generation’s formative influences keep coming out of the woodwork. Gibo by Julie Verhoeven, an Italian line designed and presented in London, is one example of the struggle to transform the costume offenses of the 1980s into a new wave of style. Verhoeven, a noted illustrator who contributed to Marc Jacobs’s Fall 2002 collection for Louis Vuitton, is in the vanguard of girls whose first sensations of glamour were had to the strains of Dallas, while their mommies donned colored pumps and adjusted their shoulder pads for an evening out.
In this debut collection, Verhoeven showed wide-collar two-tone coats, shirred and draped purple slink dresses, lots of leaf-shape cuts, plenty of novelty buttons, quilted satin, sproutings of lace, and giant excrescences of junk jewelry. Was it ugly? Yesbut, arguably, not ugly enough. Things seemed to be complicated by the need to provide a semblance of commercial sanity in the collectionhence the skinny black pants that kept turning up and the drabness of the color palette. If Verhoeven had run amok with nasty 80s color clashes and had had full-on ironic fun with the tacky exuberance of the time, she might have ended up with something so bad it was good. Instead it just came off as rather sad.