by Drew Taylor
Trussardi set the tone for its fall/winter 2014 collection before a single look ever took to the catwalk, decking out the show space like an ultra-modern hunting lodge with antlers mounted on otherwise stark walls and lanterns hung from high ceilings.
Though the vibe might have been somewhat rustic, Umit Benan’s latest collection for the house was the picture of effortless cool: A muted color palette limited to black, cream, brown and navy (save for a toned-down leopard print and elegant windowpane checks) served to better highlight the designer’s masterful use of supple leather (in everything from tops to full-on suits) and pony skin (perfect on boots, bags and moto jackets). His background as an acclaimed menswear designer was most apparent in the host of exquisitely tailored outerwear—though overcoats often cut away from the body, Benan paired more voluminous pieces with softly pleated skirts or chiffon dresses to maintain a feminine appeal.
The grandson of a classical Florentine painter, Roberto Cavalli looked to his roots for inspiration this season, offering up a lavish collection driven by artistry and craftsmanship. The resulting mix of decadent brocade (rendered in deep blue and purple velvet), steely embellished micro-mini skirts and dresses that resembled seductive suits of armor, and opulent swathes of fur was equal parts rock and Renaissance. Cavalli’s signature floral prints went graphic in a number of black and white looks, showcased on everything from sharp-shouldered satin blazers and tailored trousers to flirty chiffon dresses for both day and evening wear.
Nicholas Kirkwood and Pollini hosted a unique retrospective of the Italian accessories label’s 60 years of shoemaking: Distributed across a mountain of white shoe boxes were some of Pollini’s iconic styles, all arranged by decade. The new fall/winter offerings (designed by Kirkwood, the brand’s creative director since spring/summer 2011) were also on display, from pretty brocade pumps to punky monk strap flatforms and city chic top-handle handbags with oversized nail closures (a personal favorite).
The talented duo behind Aquilano. Rimondi was inspired by Alice in Wonderland for fall—not the classic Lewis Carroll tale you might expect, but rather Tim Burton’s 2010 film adaptation. This Alice is not a naïve young girl who’s just fallen down the rabbit hole but rather a strong, sophisticated woman: A heart print woven throughout the collection looked more chic than saccharine when contrasted with substantial materials like tweed and jacquard and cast in 1940s silhouettes (think nipped-in belted waists, sharp shouldered jackets and curve-accentuating pencil skirts, sure to be one of fall/winter 2014’s top trends).