What happens when a designer is less concerned with thinking outside the box than thinking about the box itself? This question hovered over Albino D'Amato's eponymous collection—one that was very much motivated by boxier volume, à la Courrèges. But instead of being an homage, the collection came across as a carefully considered study. Nearly every piece was constructed around a rectangle—or several, as was the case with a black and white dress in silk with duchesse satin. Its stiff skirt paneled opened at three points, allowing an appreciation of the interplay between gown and gam.
There was much to love about D'Amato's boxy tuxedo coats, which had more of that duchesse satin paneling applied to the fronts or sides. Funnily enough, the Paris-based Roman designer stopped short of a smoking. His take on the suit was more office-appropriate and consisted of a slim tunic and pant. While some styling and accessories would have helped, the idea worked.
D'Amato clearly has a firm grasp of tailoring. Proportion, too. Everything is made in Italy, and he sourced the tweed from Malhia Kent (the company that once supplied Chanel); his standards are high. But his starting point came with a very obvious risk: getting boxed in. He offered a few token nods to fluidity, including a floral-patterned black and white satin dress with wool crepe paneling. The top in alternating bands of burgundy and navy mink showed tactile, rather than structural, dimension. A white-collar men's shirt in blue lamé jacquard was a flashy outlier; still, points for attitude.
Attitude, in fact, was the collection's weakness. The drama of that diagonal dress needed a completely nonchalant counterpoint. D'Amato came closest with a chic duchesse satin "couture bomber jacket." But then he paired it with an asymmetric wrap-style skirt. The Paris designers who command the spotlight today would have chosen a slick leather pant. It's just Juxtaposition 101. If he ticks off that box, Albino will be one to watch.