Antonio Berardi has a finely tuned ear, listening to the needs of those well-heeled ladies the world over for whom evening wear is not an occasional extravagance but a near obligation. With enviable social calendars charged with galas, cocktail parties, and perhaps an art show or two, these dames need diverse and daring options, and today Berardi offered them in spades.
The designer used the words “opulence” and “turbulence” to underscore the glaring cacophony of deep color and glittering beads that jolted us wide awake at his spring show this morning. The former is a given—we expect Berardi to bring on the bling; however, “turbulence” was an anomalous shake-up in his romantic vein of power dressing. So was the way he drew links to Einstein and the great thinker’s ideas on truth and beauty through a child’s eyes.
Those unlikely notions came together to describe the exaggerated, naïve proportions that Berardi applied to Asian-inspired sliced shifts and sheer organza pantsuits, fluttering cape-like blouses and the sack-back drama of gowns in floor-length metallic jacquard. They explained, too, the curling shoulder experiments of cocooning opera coats embellished with crystal. Their curved structure and painterly, brushstroke jacquards furthered the designer’s nod to Eastern dress that felt bold yet ladylike when pitched against the severity of ultraslim brocade tailoring.
With references to menswear and utility clothing de rigeur across international runways today, we can track the rise of the bomber jacket from army surplus up into the annals of Paris couture. Berardi, too, tipped his hat to the pragmatic staple, with his exaggerated versions with ballooning, iridescent sleeves or a fanning peplum and nipped waist. Those pieces were a progressive step for the designer; however, it will be his floor-grazing chiffon gowns framed in scatters of flowery crystals that will keep him at the top of London’s go-to glamour list.