January 11, 2008
Ennio Capasa claims he was mesmerized by the look of London's many style tribes when he launched Costume National in 1987. Still, it's primarily punk that has shaped his sensibility over the subsequent years. Now, with the generosity of spirit that years of success can bequeath a guy, he has initiated the next decade of his career with a return to roots. Big clue: Capasa has shaved off his Three Musketeers goatee. "Cleaning up," he called it backstage. And the fashion equivalent was a collection that drew in elements of ted, mod, skin, andnatchpunk to create a dish that was, as the designer said in his show manifesto, "for tomorrow." While Radiohead blistered the ether with key tracks from In Rainbows, Capasa marched a mod-worthy pied-de-poule trench, a plaid shirt, waistcoat, and white jeans combo (sheer skinhead), and a red plaid mohair jacket (echoes of vintage '77 King's Road) down the catwalk. The brothel creepers and the trilbys pushed casually back on the models' heads added the requisite fifties vibe. But Capasa is more than a fashion archeologist. There will always be a detail that lets you know he feels what he doesmaybe something as minor as a signet ring pushed over a fingerless mitt, or as striking as the bugle-beaded lapel on a washed-out jacket. You might have done that yourself to juice up a vintage purchase, but Ennio did it first.