Deprived of his old brand of his own name, Alessandro Dell’Acqua is back with his third collection for No. 21 (his lucky number and birthday in December). He used to be all about flowy cocktail dresses and lingerie detailing, but for the new brand, he envisions more daywear, ‘more real’. And more structure, we should add. His first collection for a/w 2010 was deemed a good starting point by audiences, while his second, s/s 2011 s show of sporty minimalism was labelled by some as ‘uninspired’. I have to admit, while it was fresh and summery, it did lack character on the whole. Anyway, the third collection combines the perfect 1960s ladylike and the smart casual masculine looks, pared-back and flamboyance in an easy and natural way, with lace and metallics, ostrich feather and knitwear, in black, nude, lemon, gold, khaki, taupe and cream. His clothes are easy to love, especially the crisp ladylike and the masculine looks.

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Alessandro is clearly getting his mojo back, so much in fact that the pre-fall collection he showed in January 2011 now feels not only like a full prequel to the a/w show, but a missing link of legacy (this probably should have been the s/s collection), and it is every bit as inspired as it should be. And the proof? A bit of extra for you there – do check it out, it has plenty of ideas to steal right here, right now.

runway stills:

Francesco Scognamiglio

Have we had enough of prim and proper beauty? Or of dark billowing shapes for high drama? A gothic sense of style has many faces, and these days, it tends to jump on you where you least expect it. Francesco uses contrasts, cutouts, pale shades and a creepy porcelain doll aesthetic to build suspense in his silent drama with echoing footsteps and the music of a heartbeat in the dark. The looks of fur and leather, ruffles, quilting and sparkle are minimal and intricate at the same time, you realise as you try and stick a mental label on what you are seeing. Minimalistic or opulent? Modern or baroque? Historic or futuristic? Old Hollywood? Alice in Wonderland? Interview With A Vampire? Whatever the excuse, don’t let the cold season catch you unprepared. Francesco’s angels and demons have been unleashed.

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Jo No Fui

Jo No Fui’s self-confessed brand personality is a “total glam-snob look” – well, I wouldn’t be so hard on myself if I were designer Alessia Giacobino. Her punchy little collection is full of great, comfy and functional pieces, besides being youthful and yes, glam. Alessia took to very different decades for inspiration, working with 1960s A-lines and minidresses, 1970s jumpsuits, fur trims, duffle and cape details, 1980s crop tops and bodycon, moulding them with more contemporary and timeless elements, a variety of trouser styles, ruffles, studs, pleats, tough belts, until the references are barely recognisable. If you want to play it safe, look and feel natural with a slight edge, Jo No Fui has the pieces you can actually wear as they are, come next season.

runway stills:

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