One could argue that red-carpet labels have it easier than their more broadly focused colleagues in times of recession. After all, they exist in a crystal-studded world where there has never been any pretense that their clothes are for the "normal woman," whoever that mythical beast may be. And no matter how badly the economy tanks—heck, even if there were a nuclear apocalypse—Ryan Seacrest will still be standing by a red carpet somewhere, demanding to know who Kate Bosworth is wearing.
On the other hand, there must be something a little weird designing intricately beaded and diamanté-dappled dresses while the news is still full of bankruptcy. Azzaro's Vanessa Seward seems to think so. In this collection, wisely shown as a small presentation in the store (Azzaro may be perfect for the celebrity market, but it still hasn't quite got the clout to withstand the pressure and expectation of a full-scale fashion show), she included a surprising amount of daywear and sober coats. Woman cannot live by diamanté alone.
But even these black and white dresses and tuxedo jackets had something of the starlet to them, not least because so many of them ended at the upper thigh. Some of the dresses had flippy little skirts, others had a stiffer bell shape, and the designer had particular fun with some louche seventies pieces, such as strapless jumpsuits. As if to prove that these wispy bits and bobs weren't only for Hollywood waifs, a very pregnant Seward sat in the audience sporting a white playsuit from the collection splattered with paw prints. These were supposed to represent the paws of her cat Monsieur Jo—who also made an appearance in Seward's last collection. This was clearly Seward's favorite part of her collection, as she couldn't resist jumping up, mid-presentation, and explaining the reference to the audience. How many Azzaro customers will feel as enthusiastic about Jo's contribution remains to be seen—though, to be fair, the cat-loving fashionista is a fairly well-established sub-demographic.
It was soon back to business as usual with plenty of long or mini black dresses, heavy with embellishment. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that the best were the ones that kept decoration to a seductive minimum, such as the floaty black minidress with sparkling black buttons. It turns out that not only can red-carpet brands work in the recession, in some ways they can be improved by it.