The word bourgeois has cropped up a lot this season. But its stolid middle-class connotations scarcely applied to Alessandro Dell'Acqua's interpretation of the term in his collection for No. 21. He's always leaned toward the idea of behind-closed-doors naughtiness, the notion that the people who are wound up tightest are also the ones who are really going to let go. Beneath the camel coat beats a heart of darkness.
Dell'Acqua gave his take on Italian perviness added juice this season by stirring in some English country house frolics. The micro-check vest, the hunting rig, the twinset with a pencil skirt, the man-sized pants…they were borrowed from the designer's vision of the Queen on a weekend toot. But Dell'Acqua's charms as a designer lie much more with his edgy hybrids, seen here in the felt coat with the black bomber sleeves, the cabled cardigan with the paillette sleeves, and the conservative coat with the faux sleeve of jet beading slyly poking out. The most slyly suggestive of all was the top that was all pure white cardigan from the front and bad-girl sheer camisole from the back.
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