June 22, 2010 New York
In her time, Madeleine Vionnet was such an arch-modernist that her innovations haunt fashion to this very day, which means Rodolfo Paglialunga faces a peculiar challenge in making Vionnet more contemporary. For Resort, he cleverly took a sporty route, showing tank dresses, T-shirt dresses, and a parka shape with a swallowtail that spoke more of Now than Then. With a form as simple as two circles sewn together and elasticized at the waist, Paglialunga created a silhouette that had the ease of a caftan or a kimono, especially in washed linen as soft as an old sheet. There was, in fact, something very Japanese about that geometry, though it also referenced Vionnet's own manipulation of the square in her work. An ingenious dress whose sleeves folded back for a capelike effect invited movement, perhaps even some kind of interpretive dance. It wasn't hard to imagine Paglialunga's other frocks having just such a result on actress fans like Carey Mulligan, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard, especially as shown in a shift of dégradé sequins. Too bad Paglialunga's color scheme of browns, beiges, and blue-gray was so dour and un-partylike. The accompanying costume jewelry of ropes and chains, which looked like something found on the beach, was actually much more glamorous than it sounds.
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