“The mood this season is exotic bourgeoisie,” said designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua in a perfect sound bite/twitter length description of his spring/summer 2014 show. But what this collection really boiled down to was Dell’Acqua taking his touchstone design ingredients, lingerie elements and a mix of masculine and feminine dress (both in fabric choices, and staple garments), and placing them in a new environment to see if they could thrive.
What always makes a Dell’Acqua show interesting is how he is able to continuously give a very distinctive, and original perspective on classic themes. This time it was the steamy tropics that caught the designer’s eye. So for him, instead of overwhelming a skirt or jacket with a bold hibiscus print, he brought it to life by cutting the motif into the fabric to give it a striking textural impact. Or in another clever three dimensional relief treatment, the floral print on a dress would bloom into a whorl of ruffles from one side of the skirt.
Dell’Acqua used prints rather sparingly in a collection that was meant to focus on the exotic. But when he did turn to them, he chose a bold ocean wave motif in a retro 1960s wallpaper style that was both dramatic and nostalgic.
As for that mélange of the masculine and feminine aspects of this show, that was were things felt a bit more familiar. A man’s blue cotton poplin business shirt came out edged in black beading, his double breasted blazer was cut from white lace with a contrasting flourish of black botanical lace down one arm, or slim sheer tulle skirts covered in beading were paired with men’s boxer shorts. Although, he did hit on the crop top trend with his embellish lace tops, or white cotton shirts, sliced off well above the midriff.
While not all of this collection was able to fully adapt to its new exotic environment, overall Dell’Acqua’s aesthetic didn’t wilt in the tropical heat- some pieces (those cut-out blooms) even flourished with a new fashion direction for the house.