If last season's tribal excursion felt like a provocative schism in the Missoni saga, this new collection scattered the sweet balm of fairy dust. Its candy-colored pastel prettiness seemed to be the stuff of Cinderella's dreams. "It's a fairy tale," said Margherita Missoni, granddaughter of the house's founders, as she walked through the racks of clothes before the show. But alternately, you could flip the cloud-cuckoo-land binoculars and look through a glass darkly, at which point a whole other, rather more interesting story emerged.
It's always been Margherita who appeared to be designated heiress apparent of the family style legacy. She's helped her mother Angela, the line's designer, nudge it to a more contemporary place. This season, however, Angela was bigging up her younger daughter Teresa, claiming it was her dress sense that influenced the proportions of the collection. And, armed with that update, it was indeed easy to see Teresa's nonchalance in the sweeping skirts, the oversize tops, the man's jacket thrown casually over the whole lot.
Every fairy tale has a kernel of not-quite-rightness, and that was evident here in the menswear elements: the raw-seamed redingotes, the broken plaids, the pleated trousers as big as Oxford bags, and even the tweedy bouclé shorts suit. They provided a necessary ballast for the pink, pistachio, lilac, and baby blue. Even without that, though, there was a sense of the skewed. It was partly the size of the clothes. "As Japanese as Missoni can go," said Margherita. It was also the sun-bleached quality: The Ladies of the Canyon atmosphere was on a similar wavelength to Rodarte's Great Plains collection this season.
Artist Tiana Langdon contributed naïve drawings that were either printed or embroidered on long dresses. Adding to the languid, stoned vibe was the Frederic Sanchez soundtrack, featuring "Sweet Jane" by the Cowboy Junkies. That song was used in Natural Born Killers, and its star Juliette Lewis was a reference for Lucia Pieroni's makeup.
OK, so there was a circle squared. But there was more: full-length python coats (anyone who has ever chased Ossie Clark's snakeskin through vintage shops will be in heaven) matched to python bike boots; a raschel knit lace jacket and skirt dissolving into clouds of feathers; pastel fur sewn onto organza to create a fluffy little skirt . There was something compulsively irresistible in a story that was built on such decadent ephemera.