Niccolò Pasqualetti has the rare ability to give clothes an object life—meaning they are interesting in themselves. This might be explained by the designer’s experience working with jewelry (including time at Alighieri), but perhaps it’s better understood as part of a larger story. This Italian has created a world with undulating and amorphous borders where gender and genre distinctions don’t hold, and where flat pattern pieces are inflated into 3D wonders. The most dramatic example of this in the spring collection was a paper-like dress in candy colors. (Imagine a sheath dress that had eaten pop rocks and exploded with gentle shapes.) Creating it, noted Pasqualetti, was like sculpting.
Pasqualetti is a designer of great sensitivity who is able to work a kind of magic on classic pieces, often through the use of curved pattern pieces. The work is a bringing together of straight and curved lines in a way that plays with volume, gesture, and time. That remained true this season, but the surreal aspects “became more blurred” and there were fewer of them, making room for “more wearable, everyday city pieces, where you have a lot of functionality, this time with a lot of pockets,” said Pasqualetti. These appeared on outerwear pieces like an oversized leather-fabric hooded jacket and an orange vest of nylon-y cotton faille. They also showed up on tie-on tool bibs/bags. A dark chocolate version was worn around the neck of a model in Pasqualetti’s signature—and much copied—skirtpants and a tunic with scalloped edges. This rounded shape was created through draping with a sort of Flemish air, consisting of a rectangular bib top with the skirt made in a lighter, floatier material. The designer described it as a sarouel style, with added buttons that allow customization. (Drawstrings served a similar purpose on a shirt/cape.)
This curvy motif that undulated throughout the lineup, and which Pasqualetti described as being “subtle details of flowers, like minimalistic flowers,” spoke both to the organic shapes the designer is drawn to, and a sense of play. Within this context, a kind of camp shirt with two pockets and steel details looked ready for a glamping trip, especially when paired with tan pants cut large with a volume that was luxurious almost to the point of being baroque. One of the designer’s aims was to integrate jewelry into the clothes and the looks. Listening to Pasqualetti talk about this integration brought to mind Raf Simons’s comment that Prada’s metal fringed skirts were “built like jewelry.” It’s a vibe. The drops (not tears, but “third and fourth eyes,” Pasqualetti said) falling from steel eyeglasses also embellished garments. (There was a necklace version of the eyewear as well.) Providing a contrast to the hardness of steel was the suppleness of upcycled metallic pink leather, an unexpected, and welcome, surprise.