If no connection immediately presents itself between 1960's It girl Penelope Tree and a potentate of the Ottoman Empire, Rifat Ozbek found one in the essential simplicity of their respective uniforms: the shift dress and the caftan. These two items were the alpha and omega of his new collection for Pollini. The dominant shape was the shift, topped by a matching coat of the same length and paired with flat boots or little metallic heels. The combination looked dressy in a Lurex tweed, and urban-easy in chocolate-brown leather. "Short, fresh, young"that's what Ozbek said he was looking for. He compounded the effect with abbreviated swingy coats in yellow or black mohair.
Sienna Miller is in Milan and Edie Sedgwick is on everyone's minds, but a post-show Ozbek was quick to point out that his take on the Factory Girl era was much more glamorous. In fact, he had in mind Truman Capote's "swans" at the author's legendary Black and White Ball (several of the mannequins were masked by Philip Treacy). The decoration, though, came straight out of the recent exhibition of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century caftans at Manhattan's Sackler Gallery. The tulip design from a sultan's robe was duplicated in damask for a shift, coat, bag, and boot ensemble, and the patterns of Ottoman tiles were interpreted in black and gold on a short, high-waist, kimono-sleeve shift. There was a youthquake glamour to this notion that carried through to the jeweled necklines and fur-trimmed collars and cuffs. If simplicity was indeed Ozbek's original yardstick for the collection, his congenital inclination toward sheen and surface inevitably disposed him toward a coat in silk, embossed so it gleamed like an oil slick.