Antonio Berardi said he had religion on his mind when he began working on his spring collection. But his is not an ascetic style. Born a Roman Catholic, Berardi loves a flourish. And although these clothesthank heavenwere less ornately layered than last season's and significantly lighter in their overall effect, there were schoolgirl uniforms, vestments, and silver-plated priest collars aplenty, even a few waisted tunics and armor-like boleros with a touch of Joan of Arc to them. "There's a purity and innocence here," said the designer. "But there's pomp and circumstance, too."
Glorified communion dressesabove-the-knee, A-line, and bibbed or yokedcame in organzas, tulles, and chiffons just translucent enough to betray cardinal-red lingerie sets beneath. The lantern sleeves of blackboard-gray shifts and miniature skirt suits, meanwhile, were filigreed with silver like a bishop's robes. Dropping the metaphor, he turned out a spot-on tent dress cut from embroidered metallic lace that stood out from the rest for its simple, welcome wearability. George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" played as the models came out for the finale processional, but holy wasn't the word for Berardi's show. He takes his faith leavened with a bit of sinand more than enough ostentation.