July 20, 2009 New York
It's round three for Vionnet. Sophia Kokosalaki and Marc Audibet had tried their hands at the storied French house before investor Matteo Marzotto, formerly of Valentino, bought the company earlier this year and installed a veteran of Miuccia Prada's design studio, Rodolfo Paglialunga, as the label's new creative director. Paglialunga's first collection for pre-spring works the tropes Vionnet was known for—Grecian draping, bias cut, exposed shoulders—without being a strict homage. That's thanks in part to the accessories: understated pumps and T-straps, streamlined clutches and chain bags, and especially the geometric gold cuffs. Versatility was a key Vionnet innovation, so some of the frocks can be worn back to front, while the capelike sleeves of a shirtdress can be tied behind the back to create a different, more casual silhouette. The collection was at its most successful when Paglialunga kept things simple: One timeless bit of unfussy elegance—a sleeveless black cocktail number that billowed down the back—would be a welcome addition to any woman's closet, not least of all because of its recession-cognizant $800 price tag.
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