N°21 Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 Milan
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N°21 Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 Milan

Of the four key fashion weeks, Milan has always been considered the most market oriented of the bunch; with the majority of the Italian designers creating commercial collections made to appeal to a large customer base. But that is not the way Alessandro Dell'Acqua likes to design his clothing.

His collections always challenges the fashion status quo with experimentation in ornamentation and unusually juxtapositions of textiles designed to give a fresh slant to urban ensembles. But for any designer who tries so hard to always bring something new to the sartorial conversation, there is a certain amount of risk that some of the concepts will not come together.

That was the case with this collection.

Backstage before the show the designer talked about mixing a casual shape with a very neoclassic Italian esthetic with feminine embellishments or, put another way, “bring the masculine and the feminine together,” said Dell'Acqua.

To accomplish this, Dell’Acqua created a silhouette that was big and boxy on the top and fitted on the bottom. The goal being to bring “casual and sexy together.” Occasionally that worked on, say, a loose cheongsam dress crafted from black lace, which featured a thick, white-bordered hem, or a fitted alternative that was created by blending purple brocade with sporty wide stripes of red silicon on a dress.

Even some of the more outrageously embellished designs - tops and dresses covered in Swarovski crystals and silver bottle caps, mosaic python pieces or the semi-sheer stripped nylon tops- all had interesting sartorial stories to tell.

But whatever gave the designer the idea that droopy crystal and beaded embellishments placed underneath the model’s breast on tops or dresses would look feminine, or even appealing, is a complete mystery.

Dell'Acqua ought to be praised for his continued risk taking, even if this collection was a bit of a mixed bag, there were enough individual winners in the show that the designer should feel pleased about.

- Jessica Michault