Tony Viramontes' name is coming up with increasing frequency in fashion circles these days. An exhibition at 10 Corso Como in Milan can do that for an artist. Anthony Vaccarello said he didn't see that show, but he's the latest designer to key into the 1980s illustrator's expressive, graphic work. Viramontes' drawings influenced the sculptural patent red ruffle that curved down the front of a strapless black cocktail number and the inverted triangle cutout on the midriff of a one-shouldered minidress. Vaccarello credited the metal leopard grommets he appliquéd on leather separates to Viramontes, too.
More loosely, Viramontes' eighties heyday was reflected in the show's silhouette: the pronounced shoulders, the bum-grazing minis, pants with pleats (a first for Vaccarello). But if the clothes glanced backward, they didn't look retro. The turtleneck dickeys paired with even the sexiest of looks added a cool, modernizing touch.
Besides, Vaccarello's signatures are strong. The asymmetric hems on miniskirts and the hip-high slits on longer ones made this collection look identifiably his own. It was easily his most well-rounded so far, with a new emphasis on tailoring and outerwear. Vaccarello has been criticized in the past for his too-specific point of view. Let's face it, hip-bone-baring dresses are for the very few. But take another look at the shearling jackets and coats he opened this show with: They'll appeal to a lot of different women, 6-foot-tall super-babes and otherwise.