Andrea Pompilio, anointed one of the up-and-comers in the Italian fashion industry by last season's Who's on Next awards, followed his gorgeous ethnic-gone-rococo Spring collection with something that channeled the urban jungle for Fall. He said it was all about maturing as a designer, but it felt like a lot of the quirk, strangeness, and charm that made Spring such a standout had been sidelined in favor of a more accessible metropolitan mood. Until, that is, Pompilio got to clarify his position. For instance, he'd chosen Cheetah, the recently deceased simian star of ancient Tarzan movies, as a recurring visual motif in the collection to represent the real animal within, which counterpointed the sportswear sophistry of everything else on the catwalk. And he'd imagined that, in dark times, there could be few things more uplifting than to swan into La Scala, Milan's legendary opera house, in a yellow glazed cotton poncho. Or to wear a fur-bobbled toque, or a goofy deerstalker. The guy clearly has a sense of humor.
And he has an acute sense of how to transmogrify the staples of casual citywear. Combats, parkas, shearlings, and chunky knits were all tweaked to chic. But he also used lightly quilted pieces to stand in for sweaters under outerwear. That was a smart solution to added seasonal bulk. The tailored jackets looked clumsy by comparison, even if they suggested that Pompilio is a born colorist. He's also canny enough to appreciate how his aesthetic can translate into accessories. If the hats were a hoot, the shoes were a must-have.