Scoop! Who knew that Donatella Versace and John Galliano once eloped to Rio and secretly gave birth to a pair of love twins? They named them Basso & Brooke, and now the boys have exploded into London fashion with a carnival of multicolor, multiprint high campery that flung its astonished audience back in their seats, laughing wildly.
Well, of course, we made the Don-and-John bit up. But their influence on the collection of Bruno Basso (a Brazilian) and Christopher Brooke (a Brit)with its exuberant Latin color, theatrically exaggerated silhouettes (vast hats, flounces, and burlesque posturings), and potentially sinister subtextis nonetheless obvious. Their show opened with a whoosh from a vast Elnett sprayone of the least subtle, yet most hilarious, fashion product placements ever witnessedand degenerated from there into a highly enjoyable farrago of psychedelic computer-printed fifties prom dresses, hobbled Vegas gowns, and spray-on eighties leggings.
But take a closer look at all those printslipsticks, mirrors, roses, musical notes, and piano keys jazz with chevron stripes and polka dots in a queasy melee of kitschand the question begs asking: Just what are these guys getting at? A glance at the program notes explains it: The show, entitled Vanity Affair, is inspired by "disenchanted housewives for whom bridge parties and coffee mornings have been superseded by pills and pitchers of cocktails before noon." Their comment on squiffy narcissism also includes mirror images of women as dogs. Which is not so nice. But there again, the audacious confidence of this show deserves applause. At last, in London, there's something weird on the loose, and it's a long time since we've been able to celebrate that.