February 23, 2011
Backstage, Albino D'Amato explained that he was influenced by New York City. "But my way," he qualified. "There's a lot of American art in there, from fifties Rothko to eighties Keith Haring." If he says so. You could sort of see Haring in the multicolor confetti-dot and chevron-stripe dresses near the end of the show, but the Rothko references slipped by this reviewer entirely. That's not a slag on this collection. While certainly not directional—he's only the latest in what surely promises to be a very long line of designers trotting out half wool flannel, half fur jackets this season—there were things here to make the cash registers sing at Saks Fifth Avenue, his first big U.S. account. Take the tweedy T-shirt dress that opened the show: flattering cut, side pockets for that covetable nonchalant look, and even an element of surprise in the form of a black tinsel inset at the back.
As the show progressed, that shiny, synthetic fluff reappeared on the hem of a houndstooth skirt, at the bottom of an asymmetric top, on the knees of skinny black pants, and peeking out beneath a party dress. Enough already. D'Amato was at his best when he took a page, or a paintbrush, from Rothko, and chose subtlety over showiness. We've said before that he's a smart tailor, and he proved it again tonight with herringbone trousers and a fuzzy houndstooth coat.