The richness of Catholic ritual has always been a building block for Antonio Berardi, so, following a Fall collection that referenced Oscar Niemeyer's Brazilian architecture, there was an intriguing logic to Berardi taking on candomblé, the Brazilian version of voodoo, for his Resort collection. "I like the sense of ceremony," he said, which translated into a graphic, high priestess-y group of black and white shot through with lace and pared down by Berardi's own body-conscious signature.
If that kind of monochrome effect felt like something the designer has focused on in the past, the rain forest made its presence felt in prints, which were new for Berardi. He was after something hot and sultry, "the feeling of nature, green with flesh underneath." He also used embroidery to duplicate the effect of hummingbird wings.
Still, it was less the hothouse of Brazil than Berardi's rigorous precision that ultimately defined the collection. His recent trial by tabloid for a dress worn by Gwyneth Paltrow threw a global spotlight on just how demanding his clothes can be (G.P. wore the gown sans underwear). There was no sense here that the experience had induced any compromise on his part. A red evening gown proved that he can still do that voodoo that he do so well.
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