"It's about the punk revolution, blah, blah, blah," Fausto Puglisi said at his presentation this afternoon. We know the feeling. With the impending Costume Institute show, fashion may have once and for all sucked every drop of meaning and power out of the modern era's most anarchic moment. Puglisi's collection touched on some of punk's most potent tropes—tartan, leather, buckles, and straps. And then some. Puglisi is a bit of a magnet; the other pop iconography he riffed on in his 31 looks included Kurt Cobain's brushed plaids, Freddy Krueger's stripes, Yankees baseball caps, and Carrie—the Sissy Spacek Carrie, he wants you to know, not the upcoming remake with Chloë Grace Moretz.
That's a lot of different elements, but Puglisi's signatures are strong enough that this collection felt familiar in the right ways. The miniskirts, the lavish metal and crystal embroideries, the printed silks… He's built an identity in a fairly short amount of time in the spotlight. To-the-floor dresses bejeweled with medallions and crosses, boasting matching slits up past the hip bones, counted among the newer pieces.
On the other hand, Puglisi knows that not all of his clients are Kanye-rich. (West will receive the show's oversize, embroidered leather Perfecto by special delivery in Paris next week.) The designer also does unadorned, even if he doesn't get as big a kick from doing it. Compared to the rest of the collection, a sleeveless yellow crepe cheerleader dress with a hem up to there was positively understated. Puglisi debuts his first collection for the house of Ungaro next week. The fun he's having here is enough reason to be uncautiously optimistic about his chances there.