"It's a trip," Angela Missoni declared, as she breezed through a backstage area choked with acid colors and tribal shapes. Here was a new Missoni, a slightly psychedelic, multiculti trawl across the surface of the globe: Japan, Jamaica, Mexico, Africa, Vietnam…everywhere and nowhere. Angela's daughter Margherita has been making her presence felt in the family business, and this time it showed in a subtext that wove snippets of rap and funk lyrics across the collection. "Shake your rump," "Let your backbone slip," and "Get up off that thing" were used as a running Jenny Holzer-like visual element in multi-striped tops and jackets. Jourdan Dunn sported a spectacular sequined cutout coat where the words had become just another element in a wild collage.
While Margherita was texting friends for inspiration, Angela was imagining a blank canvas of the most geometric shapes—a square, a triangle, a circle—on which to project the new story. In the show, that translated into an almost two-dimensional flatness. Smocks, tunics, caftans, and kimonos, many of them slit down the side, were like paper-doll clothes (or Leon Bakst's costumes for the Ballets Russes). And the fabrics had a strikingly dry hand to match. It made for an audacious revamp of a line that is famous for sinuous fluidity. The 2-D feel was, however, given some 3-D juice, because every surface was built up with layering, pleating, fringing, or embellishments, like sequins, beads, tufts of stuff.
It was tempting to see the show as a watershed moment for Missoni. And, like all such significant junctures, it won't be an easy one for the house. But there was a seductive energy and verve to the clothes themselves that suggested this is the right—maybe the only—trip for Missoni to take.