Fausto Puglisi isn't quite Milan's newcomer anymore. There are others coming up behind him who are eager to take that title. But that doesn't mean he's gone staid and grown up on us, not with AC/DC and Led Zeppelin on the soundtrack, and not with the explosion of color and embroideries on his runway tonight. As usual with Puglisi, his reference points came from far and wide: the artists Kazimir Malevich and Sonia Delaunay, the Ballets Russes, the Statue of Liberty. Yes, Lady Liberty herself made a few cameos, emblazoned on the front of sweatshirts and repeated in miniature on silk button-front blouses. "I want to be a little Frank Sinatra of fashion—you know he was Sicilian, right?" Puglisi said backstage. "This is my American dream."
With Malevich and Delaunay for inspiration, there was a serious graphic punch to Puglisi's clothes this season, but color and embroideries have been his signatures from the start. What pushed his story forward were the new silhouettes: less body-con, more generous—not that Lindsey Wixson's opening color-blocked T-shirt and tiny embellished mini gave any of that away. Puglisi may still be at his best and most believable when he's working a bit of cling. Either that or embellishing a tough-chic leather jacket. Tutu skirts keyed in to the Ballet Russes theme, but they were a bit too exclamatory for real life off the stage. The easy volumes of knee-length plissé skirts and loose-fitting crewneck sweaters were the timeliest developments in this sometimes repetitive collection; they were not only in keeping with the major trends of the season, but also a smart way to spread Puglisi's DNA further into the daytime category. Best in show: a long-sleeve, flaring A-line dress inlaid with energetic swoops and slashes of red, lavender, yellow, black, white, and green.