Wild West? Mae West? Rodolfo Paglialunga stitched Vionnet
's pre-fall collection together from such a bizarrely contradictory patchwork of references that it was a miracle the thing held together as well as it did. There was Navajo in the extravagant fringing and the jewelry, Old Hollywood glamour in a backless bronze lamé gown and slinky sequins, and a Baroque aspect to the feather print lifted from a fragment of foulard by the legendary Italian fabric house Ratti. And weaving through the whole farrago were some of the signatures that Paglialunga has extracted from the long history of the house of Vionnet: the square-cut shapes, the asymmetry, the pleating. Actually, it wasn't so much that the designer stitched together his various fascinations; it was more like he drawstrung and belted them to create shape and movement. He claimed he was newly focused on daywear—hence the quilted bomber that was one of his favorite pieces. But the essence of Vionnet under Paglialunga remains an eccentric dressiness.