"An encounter between an eccentric woman and the sea." That was how Sofia Sizzi described her Spring collection. That explains the Peggy Guggenheim glasses, an odder touch than the typically austere Sizzi has indulged in to date. But overall, this collection had a whimsy that's been building in Giulietta over time. The sea theme was expressed everywhere, from the wave shapes created by bodices and bustier tops to the "barnacles" embroidered on collars, the fish prints on jumpsuits and dresses, and the custom fish lace that made up coats and frocks. The designer was quick to point out that the pared-back standards on which she built her label will still be available in her showroom, but for her presentation she let her hair down a bit. "I couldn't resist," she said, standing in front of a sea green lamé dress that shimmered like a mermaid's tail. When we met Giulietta, Sizzi was referencing Catholic vestments. She's gone from sister all the way to siren in a handful of seasons.
That's not to say she got there showing much skin. Sizzi pointed to an embellished swimsuit, cut full in the forties style. "We maintained the silhouettes," she said. "They are the Giulietta silhouettes." They were sexed-up a bit by the addition—or maybe that should be subtraction—of keyhole cutouts and lattice panels.
Some of the experiments fell flat; a few looked merely odd. But pretty high points like a fish-lace skirt and bralet—its beading hand-embroidered by Sizzi's mother—and a handful of fishtail-paillette dresses won the day. Sizzi has a vision unto herself, stronger than any individual hit or miss. It won her a nomination for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which in turn brought the likes of Andrew Rosen (one of the prize's judges) to her presentation. So here, perhaps, chapter two begins.