There were some apparently conflicting conversations going on backstage before the Pucci show. In one corner Sienna Miller was enthusing about the Italian label's colorful history, "I have a Pucci bikini I've lived in, lots of scarves, a dress that belonged to my mother." And in another, her friend, the label's new designer Matthew Williamson, was saying, "I looked at the archives and discovered there was a whole lot more to Pucci than prints. He also did little black dresses. I didn't want it to be predictable."
Perhaps Williamson should sign Miller as a consultant, because, as she suggested, a girl looks to Pucci for a printall the more if it's a revved up blast from that fabulous past. The fact that this is an idea still relevant to a 24-year-old It girl should have given Williamson the green light to work into "the predictable." Instead, he overthought the challenge of raiding the swirly-whirly archive and decided to do such things as, first, a black hooded wool coat banded with a little ethnic crewel work, and secondas he'd promiseda short black jersey dress with puffed sleeves. The printa belted jersey top with matching leggings, borrowed from Emilio Pucci's stained-glass-window Cupola design of 1972only came third in line.
Williamson did produce more of the pattern, recolored in gray, black, and pink, but he expended far more effort showing solid-color outfits like total-knit pantsuits with beanie hats and scarves, and fox-trimmed alpaca or brocade coats. Those ideas, as well as his flippy-hemmed dresses, vaguely tinged with Biba-era references, compounded the feeling that he'd landed these clothes wide of the essential mark of Pucci's luxe Italian heritage. Never mind. Next season, when he's had his chance to get his feet under the design table properly, he'll hopefully surrender to everything that's wonderful about a Pucci summerpsychedelic bikinis and all.