Show notes are always to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, you had to raise an eyebrow, looking again at the first line of the release accompanying Antonio Berardi
's new collection. "A drive toward minimalism…" it read. But simply put, this collection had a lot going on: collage-style construction. Sculptural flourishes. Windowpane effects. Hand-painted chain embroidery. Sparkly lamé. A panoply of intense textures, many of them juxtaposed in the same look. And that's an incomplete list of the ideas Berardi was playing with this season. His usual Amazonian sexuality came through, and there were a handful of very nice pieces, like the gray flannel coat with raised pockets, or the show-closing embroidered gown with nicely judged bell-shaped sleeves. But too many of the looks here came off heavy and/or cluttered. Assuming the show notes reflect at least Berardi's intent, then his instinct toward restraint is a good one. To get there, he'll have to tighten the reins.