After his business structure crumbled, leaving his name in the hands of others, Alessandro Dell'Acqua was understandably keen to make a clean break with the past. Hence, the new moniker, No. 21 (after the designer's birth date in December); the new concept (more daywear, more knitwear, "more real, less cocktail," said Dell'Acqua); and the new shape—boxy and bourgeois, where once his clothes were all about the slinky seductress. But he insisted his lady still has a streak of the perverse, and that was certainly hard to deny when confronted by a big jewel-buttoned twinset in the hottest pink, paired with a little loden mini and a vertiginous heel. Likewise, a tweedy suit was edged in black patent, and a sheath of black lace was laid over a dress in the nude tone that was once a Dell'Acqua signature. Admittedly, the square-cut silhouette was a departure, but there was still enough edgy suggestion to satisfy his old clients. And, his claims aside, there was still plenty of cocktail wear of the sheer and sequined kind his fans crave.

Dell'Acqua used his new silhouette (bourgeois is his word, by the way) to make bigger-is-better pieces like the nylon faille parka fan-pleated in back to give it a bit of billow. That same intriguing volume appeared in a loden shearling and a blouse that looked like a man's white shirt from the front but, in back, turned into a flurry of pleating and lace.