March 09, 2009 Paris
He clinched all that at the outset with pale, soft, paillette-smothered dresses. Backed onto chiffon, they had movement and looked right dressed down with thick ribbed tights and suede shoe-boots. Berardi has also developed a rounded, raised shoulder that looked fresh on cropped jackets, coats, and a great little black dress (the structure, he admitted later, was gleaned from his knowledge of corsetry—it's cut from the same foam as molded bras). Thanks to collaborations with Saga furs and Crystallized Swarovski Elements, Berardi has also managed to add an extra level of luxe to his signature pieces. He patched fox and lynx onto knit in innovative ways, so that a trompe l'oeil gilet came with blue-sequined sweater sleeves, and jackets turned to show a back view featuring chunks of geometric crystal embroidered onto gray jersey. It was a small, concise statement from a designer who has found his voice—and there is more where that came from. Though he showed mostly evening on this runway, Berardi's pre-collection is full of great utilitarian outerwear and tailoring, too.