Damir Doma titled his Spring '12 menswear collection Into Rooms of Light, and it did feel as if the Croatian/German designer, who trained with Raf Simons before striking out on his own, had, for a change, let a little light in. Dark have been Doma's rooms, season in and season out. His much-layered, loose aesthetic is built by piling piece on piece, but for the most part, they've come in basic black. There's austerity there, one that has a certain monk's-robes chic, but it has felt a little bleak in the past.
This season, Doma said he'd been thinking of William Klein's Rome and its "opulent decay." It was the opulence, not the decay, that made this new collection more interesting than previous outings. The designer hasn't abandoned the layered look he favors, but he's sharpened it by pulling in the straps—often literally. He didn't stint on belts, harnesses, or buckles. Paired with multi-strap sandals, they lent a gladiatorial tone. We are in Rome, after all. Maybe that's why the best looks here felt pagan, contra Doma's usual monasticism. He's been making drop-crotch shorts for about as long as he's been in business, but they felt fresh for a moment again when they came out in gilded lambskin. They were worn not with layers of swaddling cloth but with a simple, almost classic one-button blazer (a reminder that Doma can tailor as well as he can pile) and an open-weave sweater (he can reveal as well as hide). They lit up the dark.
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