February 09, 2009
When Gwyneth Paltrow wore a white body-con dress with a sensational inset black lace trompe l'oeil girdle to the Paris premiere of Two Lovers last fall, it was a coup that worked two ways—sharply underscoring the actress' new image as a modern glamazon while throwing reflected glory back on Antonio Berardi. His pre-fall collection was a further surprise. It had more body-con dresses, in molded cashmere form, but it was also grounded in a full, substantial lineup of edgy but pragmatic outdoor pieces: full-skirted highwayman trenches, narrow chesterfields, and nipped-waist goatskin coats. Berardi is applying his European point of view—Italian sensuality, but immersed in a London design ethic (he came out of Central Saint Martins, works in Italy, and has a British accent)—to fur now, too. He described his cropped, big-shouldered treatments of fox and lynx, one inset with panels of metal and crystal embroidery, as "a bit punk, a bit seventies Ziggy." Put together with long shearling gloves and leggings, they worked well.