February 18, 2008
It's been a slow process, but La Perla has weaned itself from the overt sort of sexiness that had been the brand's most marked characteristic. Yes, the lingerie details were still there todayin silk georgette dresses edged with Chantilly lace, or on blouses with the sort of sheer neckline that inevitably draws the eye to the décolleté. But the too-obvious touches of recent seasons, like superfluous bras and whaleboning worn on the outside of clothes, were happily absent. This brought up a new issue, though: What, exactly, should the focus of the brand's ready-to-wear business be? For Fall, the buzzwords backstage were the "nouvelle vague" and the "nonchalant elegance" of one of its heroines, Jeanne Moreau. That translated into a smartly cut bracelet-sleeve coat trimmed at the hem with fox and worn with narrow flared pants, as well as a metallic copper strapless cocktail dress. Both of those fared better than the cheetah-print numbers or the pleated floor-length gowns in a sheer chiffon that awkwardly exposed under-slips ending above the knee. On the evidence of this show, La Perla's identity is still a work in progress.