February 03, 2008 New York
The rings worked well on a printed silk dress with subtle circular insets, and on a series of short, full skirts that managed to look modern and not retro fifties. But when the circle motifs were applied to thicker knits, the result was a heavy pod structure that overwhelmed the frail models at times. Although the Italian designers were hoping to capture an oceanic-tribal vibe, the result was more cyborg.
There was ambition here. The celestial details scattered throughout were inspired by the bull's-eyes and starry canvases of Richard Pousette-Dart, a pioneering abstract expressionist whose work Aquilano discovered at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. And the hand-treated angoras looked incredibly soft, like gossamer swansdown. ("We're trying to make knitwear that doesn't fit the conception of what knitwear looks like," the designers explained through a translator before the show.) But however well crafted the clothes were, in the end they were overwhelmed by the concept.