Speaking after their show today, Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos explained that their key reference this time out was the L.A.-based artist Ken Price. As a ceramicist, Price was particularly clever at creating a sense of depth and dappled variety in his glazes. As the maker of surreal, two-dimensional landscape images, he gave his work a cinematic quality and evoked a world of gaudy color. Pilotto and De Vos absorbed all those aspects of Price's technique into their new collection. And the results were intriguing: Essentially, De Vos and Pilotto elaborated their engineered prints with embroideries, in particular lace that they layered over brightly colored printed fabrics. But that was just a surface effect.
The really compelling thing about today's show was its take on the hourglass silhouette. The most emphasized shape here was a sculpted full skirt; in some cases, a crinoline underneath was exposed. It is very, very hard to make a crinoline look relevant, but De Vos and Pilotto seemed determined to discover an expression for the full skirt shape that didn't seem costumey and/or atavistic. This wasn't Dior's New Look, for sure. And this season's Pilotto girl certainly wasn't demure, what with her muscular, Céline-like sleeves and skin winking from cut-out tops and dresses.
That said, the looks here were indeed rather sweet—even the ones most indebted to Price's rather grotesque abstract forms. There were the short, printed pencil skirts, for instance, which featured a kind of half ruffle; they were paired with skin-baring tops, the flutter of which echoed the ruffle's undulating form. Frankly, it kind of looked like some dark creature had gotten ahold of the model's legs and was trying to pull her into the deep. Somehow, De Vos and Pilotto made that look cute. They made crinoline look sort of futuristic, too. This was a collection full of contradiction.