February 07, 2008
"I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch." Tony Melillo was actually quoting Gilda Radner, but the sentiment was clearly his as well. "Soft and not so serious," he continued. "It's not look-at-me fashion." Truer words were seldom spoken on Seventh Ave., which highlighted the bind in which Melillo finds himself. A "show" exists to be looked at, so it's not the best way to appreciate clothes thatsuperficially, at leastare so plain. Much better is an up-close-and-personal scrutiny, preferably with the designer on hand to articulate the philosophy that informs his work.
That said, Melillo did offer his own take on the layering that has dominated the season. He put a tweed blouson over a suit in black needle cord, and a leather bomber over a longer, five-button utility jacket, also in cord. Knits were lean, light-gauge cashmeres, also layered. Melillo's background is in editing, so he has an instinct for keeping detailing to a bare minimum. Mitts, work boots, and felted belts underscored the utilitarian edge of the clothes, though he himself was more partial to the descriptive "Eastern bloc-ish-but not drab!" Still, the clothes made most sense (except for nylon elastic-waist pants, which made no sense at all) when you could actually feel them, or see how much work had gone into the interiors of the jackets, for instance. And a chalk-striped wool puffer showpiece suggested that Melillo may have a look-at-me bone in his body after all.