Is it futile to resist the riptide of minimalism currently tugging at designers across the aesthetic spectrum? If you're of the Cavalli or Decarnin school of thought, the answer is no. But if your goal is to make pretty clothes that women want to wear, the best strategy is to swim with this particular ism until it runs its course.
That's where Nicole Farhi found herself for Spring. "I don't want to depart from my signature, which is feminine and soft," Farhi said backstage. "But I want to get some novelty with a harder edge; that's the challenge." The designer updated her brand of prettiness with new materials like paper, rubber latex, and a tinsel-like Lurex, which she remixed into streamlined, and often hybridized, silhouettes.
At its strongest, Farhi's collection had a squeaky-clean modern punch. What worked best were a navy nylon trenchcoat with a single flap of royal blue latex, the trio of dresses in Easter-egg colors that twisted their twenties-influenced silhouettes with razor-sharp pleats paneled in nylon, and an airy acid yellow silk dress shaped only by a Perspex halter and belt.
At times, the silvery and shiny elements here seemed to be an old way of envisioning futuristic clothes: 2011 via 1961. And yet there was something modern about the simple sandals crafted from bands of leather (in natural buff tones or primary hues) as well as clear Perspex. They looked like an updated version of something Jane Birkin might have worn, and paired with everything from a paillette-embroidered cocktail frock to a fluid suit, they were perfectly in step for today.