Emilio de la Morena is a process-oriented designer. Each of his collections has seen him exploring new ways of putting together clothes, and the techniques he develops, such as palimpsest layering, tend to accrete over the course of seasons, emerging as brand signatures. One of the key tactics de la Morena employed for Spring had to with suspension: He showed pieces that had been built up by hanging different elements off of one another in various, studiously imperfect ways; skin winked through where the overlaps were incomplete. The technique made for some fastidiously sexy cocktail clothes.
As usual, de la Morena's intellectual explorations made the collection interesting to see. Writ large, however, you had to wish he'd give his designer superego a little bit of a break and think through his collections a bit more superficially. The emphasis on process seems to blind him to the fact that he over-relies on one particular silhouette, which is a constricted, short dress with a flared skirt. He adapts the look—today, for instance, he showed his first knitwear, in skintight collared dresses with semi-sheer flared organza overskirts. The outfits were charming, but de la Morena has the design chops to take bigger risks.
That said, the girl who's been wearing his clothes will like this collection a lot. The tonal, Easter-egg palette gave potentially risqué looks a demure feeling; his overall meticulousness and the romance of chiffon tufts blossoming here and there helped with that, too. Meanwhile, boned dresses in black and white with a bright swirl of print had plenty of kick. Overall, this was a strong show for de la Morena, and one with a lot of good ideas he should continue to explore.