The most fascinating detail in Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi's detail-heavy collection was the kick pleat on a pencil skirt. The skirt was backed in gold velvet, and there was something about a kick pleat in that fabric and shade that reeked of the bourgeois decadence in an old Helmut Newton photo. Aquilano and Rimondi insisted they were trying to pin down the moment of liberation in the sixties when the wound-up fifties woman became the free and easy seventies girl. But however much they try to channel that young spirit, they're more absorbed by someone much older, a well-schooled connoisseur of fashion, perhaps, who can fully appreciate the extraordinary, almost suffocating amount of work that goes into an Aquilano.Rimondi collection. The cloth of one coat-dress alone had been, according to the designers' translator, "painted, squeezed, rubberized, needle-punched…" What did that poor fabric ever do to anyone? Although, truth be told, the result was a gilded wonder.
Cleaving to their sixties moment, Aquilano and Rimondi took inspiration from Piet Mondrian. You're right, Mondrian was not of that particular decade, but Yves Saint Laurent used the artist's signature geometric style to create one of the most iconic dresses of the sixties, and it was presumably that resonance that the young Italians were drawing on. Lines of gold crystals picked out Mondrian's grid patterns. So did stripes of net. A more direct reference to the sixties could be found in the dropped waists and the easy shift shapes, but they were fabricated in such a way that ease was co-opted by more of those extravagant fabric treatments. Like the needle-punching that seamlessly collaged fur, satin, and wool in one coat.
Zucchero wailing "I love you so much" on the soundtrack sounded so much more anguished in the original Italian. But if he could do with a little lightening up, that only meant his sound was entirely appropriate for Aquilano and Rimondi. They, too, could let a little sunshine into their obsession—the sunshine, perhaps, of this collection's most winning item, a golden yellow coat that was stunning in its gilt-free simplicity.