Ter et Bantine was a sea of interminable black this season. For fall, the designer Manuela Arcari continued her exploration into the abstract with a theme, which – from her show notes – should have been reductive and condensed, showing the summarizing yet elevating quality of black - 'a simple and dry grace' - but instead ended up being protracted and jejune.
The opening looks were on trend, tapping into the cloak-as-cocoon zeitgeist aplenty on many runways this season. The designer played with closure placement, most interestingly little silk ribbons as pussy bows or tied at the waist, which added a quaint elegance to padded structured outerwear. Oversized turtleneck sweaters screamed comfort and when paired with fur trimmings: luxe. Arcari also played with subtle tonal textures with the use of jacquards and embossed leather, which added a trompe l’oeil effect and some much needed depth apart from the observable layering.
Individually, the pieces were beautiful and will perhaps do well at retail, but the collection didn’t transcend emotionally. And it wasn’t for a want of ideas because to Arcari's credit, there were several. But one too many fur peplum details, a chockfull of Junya Wantanabe / Comme des Garçonns - esque slouches and folds, and the collection drifted into formulaic, pedantic territory fast – something which could’ve been fixed with a tighter edit.
On the upside, those men’s shoes with the gilded toe were heavenly.