June 20, 2013 Florence
In any case, flowers were blooming everywhere, covering double-breasted suits, panels of Abe's new, baggier shorts, and short-sleeve Hawaiian shirts. He is loath to overexplain his collections—"No references," he said backstage. He managed to find for his venue what might be Florence's most a-referential space: an old, stone pelote basque court, seemingly selected to counterbalance all the historic associations of Florence's palazzi. You find yourself sleuthing out your own: Are these slightly crumpled men tropical explorers? Castaways? (Just then, a bucket hat à la Gilligan happened by.) There are no answers. Only the quiet sweetness of clothes. In past collections, that quiet had been pierced by a shock of oddity or surprise, often a blast of electric color (lime green, orange). That would have been welcome here. "Reality is very important," Abe said. "But too much reality is boring. I need some fantasy." The fabulously beaded flower sandals—fantasy and oddity in equal measure—fit the bill.