March 01, 2011 Paris
If the navy coat wasn't pretending to be anything but an exceedingly well-cut navy coat in a supple cashmere, there were elements of surprise elsewhere, notably in a print from the legendary fabric manufacturer Bucol that Zanini used for a tailored blazer and full, slightly flaring trousers. Hidden amid the abstract flowers was an image of a pair of little kids. It sounds strange, but it was sweet, if you even noticed. The fitted sweater that was paired with those pants also had a hidden treasure; turn it inside out and there was an intarsia of cherries. Zanini loves those for-your-eyes-only details.
On the whole, though, this collection was a good deal more straightforward than the above might suggest. What could be simpler, after all, than the cadet blue pantsuit the designer opened with? Or the black silk three-quarter-sleeve to-the-knee shift dress? There were a few duds in the mix. A zip-front sleeveless dress with an A-line skirt wasn't helped any by the accompanying hand-knit kerchief. And the bra cups on a couple of bustier tops puckered where a smoother surface would've flattered more. But overall, Zanini has a pretty winning personal definition of chic: unpretentious and easy and—this is essential—laced with a sense of humor.