At the N21 show on Wednesday the effect of designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s other day job – as the designer of the Rochas brand- could clearly be seen.
Not just in the couture-like footwear, which had flaps of duchess satin skimming the floor as if the wearers’ feet would never deign to alight on a city street, but also in the injection of funds. There was an obvious uptick in embellishments and the use of more precious fabrics on the catwalk.
There was also an audacity at play that perhaps comes with the confidence of running two fashion houses. The choice to send model Hanne Gaby Odiele down the catwalk wearing a bra top that left the top crescent of her areolas exposed was nothing if not provocative.
“This collection was inspired by the British style, reinterpreted with an Italian twist,” explained the designer before his show.
But that wasn’t what came across.
Instead, the rebellious nature of this collection felt more closely linked to the concept of usurping the fraught energy of the 90s Seattle grunge movement, with its preference for plaids, stretched out sweaters and unwashed stringy hair. Dell’Acqua did this by cutting his plaids in organza and embellishing them with sequins. While his sweater came crafted in luxe marble yarns and buttoned primly up the back. Model Juliana Schurig wearing look 23 could have easily passed for a more sophisticated version of Courtney Love in her heyday.
And these were the best pieces, along with the trio of kaki looks that opened the show, in the collection. The rest felt like familiar, if more embellished, fair.
However the designer also produced some great accessories. His crystal and bead incrusted belts should be snapped up like hot cakes, as will his mini shoulder bags. The shoes too, as impudent as they were, will also find a foothold come next summer.