Bette Midler playing Janis Joplin in The Rose meets Virginia Woolf. Such are the entertaining tropes being used backstage to explain the outbreak of individualism in fall's fashion; that combination specifically was Rossella Tarabini's brief for the collection she designs under her mother's name.
The reality was thankfully much simpler. The house of Molinari always finds a way to do pretty dresses, whatever the mood of the season. This time, it was ragbag antique glamour with a seventies accent. Close up, the dresseshighly worked amalgams of dévoré velvet, chiffon, and outcrops of sparkly beadingcould almost have been the trophies girls boast about finding at Saturday-morning flea markets. Aged and crinkled gold lameés, apparently retrieved after decades in great-granny's attic, reappeared in smocks and tiered skirts tied around the middle with silver sequinned belts.
Something always comes along to break the suspension of disbelief, of course; here, it was the decidedly contemporary colorways (from chrome yellow through violet and purple) and multiple variations on the theme. But when these drifty, faux-moldered frocks turn up in shops this fall, they're exactly the kinds of things the young Secondhand Roses and would-be Virginias will fall on with gusto.