Debut collections are difficult. It’s into the deep end of the pool – sink or swim. Some designers prove to take to new waters like a fish, while others end up gaining a valuable lesson. Milanese designer, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, of No. 21, took the coveted position at Rochas after Marcos Zanini left to revive the Schiaparelli brand. Dell’Acqua stepped from the familiar territory of Milan Fashion Week to the storied streets of Paris with a presentation for Fall/Winter 2014. His efforts demonstrated a knowledge of the brand’s recent aesthetic under the command of Zanini – outsized volumes, plush custom-made fabrics, and feminine embellishment.
There was a decadent Parisian whimsy to the whole affair; a sort of modern Marie Antoinette of Montparnasse vibe at work. Enormous, enveloping fur coats, paillette-studded jackets, and embroidered tapestry toppers spoke of a dauphine’s desire for eccentric luxury. Amid the more well-to-do looks in the collection were elements that resisted charm and good breeding – a bat-wing motif, gloves that bristled with tinsel, and extremely tight patent leather skirts. There was edge to the craftsmanship, even in a wool textured coordinated ensemble that was, if you looked closely, supported with a slick glossy patent hemline. However, foiled and brocaded gowns toward the end of the show would have been more striking had the cut not swamped the models, and colorful rubber dish gloves were domestically ironic, but on a rather needless level. While Dell’Acqua hewed too closely to the works of his predecessor, Zanini, he demonstrated an ability to make the work his own – but this is a skill that still needs to be developed before Rochas starts bearing real fruit under Dell’Acqua’s leadership.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway