February 12, 2008
Markus Lupfer's second London showing of the Spanish brand Armand Basi was a bouncy essay in exaggerated volume and color. Overblown trapezes; dresses with bunchy, standout gatherings above the waist; and A-line jackets with giant flounces seemed almost deliberately awkward and doll-like. "It's about having fun with clothes and enjoying color," said Lupfer. He didn't exactly hit on anything newinflated, sub-Balenciaga shapes have been exhaustively exploited by fashion over the past couple of yearsbut the color combinations (orange, magenta, peacock blue, green, and pink) were luscious and the materials couture standard. Exactly what such extravagant cloques, failles, matelassés, and minks (there was a nice gray cocoon edge-to-edge coat midway through) are doing at this label is puzzling, though. If you came expecting to see a collection consistent with a mid- to upper-level sportswear firm that makes easy clothes for young girls (its established identity over some years), you left feeling bemused.