Felipe Oliveira Baptista's references for Fall were as far-flung as Nancy Cunard and Cormac McCarthy's The Road. "It's very eclectic," said Baptista backstage. "It's kind of a patchwork of different things." His intention may have been haphazard, but in execution the designer's darkly and luxuriously cocooned, eccentric muse was not an entirely implausible creature. Take the first look—the long belted black coat with its buttoned-up neck and storm flaps wouldn't be out of place in a postapocalyptic landscape (not that McCarthy ever envisioned his characters in anything that chic, of course), while the dropped waist and the straight-cut, flapper-esque swing to the hem gave it a hint of the twenties, Cunard's heyday. "I was playing with weights and wools," Baptista further explained. "I wanted to make things that were rigid, very loose and deconstructed."
Scarf-wrapped heads and fur hats notwithstanding, the overall sensibility seemed to owe a bit to the minimalism so prevalent last Fall—cue the wide, mannish trousers and smart coats. Baptista in fact scored high on his outerwear here. Most of the fashion flock got to know him with his Spring collection, following the announcement that he would be taking Christophe Lemaire's creative director post at Lacoste. It's comforting to know, then, that he can address cold-weather needs by tailoring an excellent coat, like the ones with cutaway silhouettes. One great idea was a fur-lined hood that when thrown back created a sort of beautiful and dramatic ruff. Curiously, given that he had explored some interesting ideas in his dresses for Spring, today's little black mini versions with panels of sequins were this collection's weakest point. A better evening
option: the chiffon sweatshirt with tiny rippling petals, which was paired with skinny blue velvet pants.
One caveat: There didn't seem to be much of a continuous vein in Baptista's work from last season to this. You get the sense that he's trying things on for size. Perhaps working on his debut for Lacoste, set for September 10, 2011, will help bring his own work into sharper focus.