January 13, 2014 Milan
However, Pompilio mixed up his granddad's uniform with a polka-dot shot of club-kid cool and a groovy gallerist. And for some reason, that made him think of Berlin. So a smoky cellar haze hung in the air at the show, and Dietrich was singing "They Call Me Naughty Lola" on the soundtrack. (Prada last night, Pompilio today? Has Milan got a Deutscher thang goin' on?) Though he was understandably wary of over-literalizing, whatever track his mind was running on lent a spine to the collection as graphic as the turtlenecks that were the basis for every single outfit. And it clarified his design voice in the nick of time. There is little that chills a career as quickly as an unmatched expectation, and that Spring lineup was dangerously diffuse for a designer upon whom so much was being pinned.
What was clarified here was Pompilio's facility with bold color and rich texture, delivered with a sense of humor (an invaluable asset for any designer). He seems to have nailed his particular niche: the ability to twist menswear classics without scaring the horses. A parka with a crackle-glaze finish, a blazer with a horizontal chalk stripe, a bomber in bouclé, a navy military coat backed in mélange—all of these signposted Pompilio's welcome evolution. And his embroidery-encrusted sweatshirts and tux/track pants were sparky takes on the season's athletic dressiness. The show was over in a flash, and that speed felt right, too. But it was a shame that Fall 2014 wasn't the collection Pompilio was slipcasing for the coffee table. Because memories are made of this.