Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s No. 21’s Spring 2020 collection straddles the line between sensual erotic provocation and deliberate restraint. The sophisticated tailoring of garments with sliced open sleeves and unbuttoned bodices revealed glimpses of arms and legs creating an impression of being frozen in a state of undressing. The soft vintage color palette conjures up pastoral scenes from Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom with dusty greens and wild daisy prints, accompanying khaki boy scout shirts, and demure pale pink dresses which look like a grownup version of the film’s wardrobe. Most importantly, his co-ed runway showed off the gender fluidity of much of the collection. The dainty, micro florals look equally charming on men as well as women rendered in strong shouldered blazers, relaxed trousers and bermuda shorts.
Dell’Acqua’s tailored essentials blurs the line between masculine and feminine, with similar looks worn by both genders. The head to toe floral prints packed a big punch creating a cohesive and impactful layered look with shorts layered over trousers, and long sleeve tunics over palazzo pajama pants. A floor skimming neck scarf worn by Maggie Maurer trailed behind the model as she walked past. The exact same print covered a mens blazer with sliced sleeves worn by leon dame over a matching shirt and trousers. Even the hair was styled identically n both men and women with soft and natural waves brushed straight back from the forehead and held in place with a narrow nude colored headband.
Prim feminine dresses were transformed into mono-sleeve garments with a detachable sleeve on one side that allows the wearer to customize each dress. Silk dresses with poet sleeves had part of the bodice removed to show the slip lining. Crystal studded sweaters had open underarm vents borrowed from Kimono construction which allow the arms to slip out the needed. Pleated skirts were sliced open to reveal one leg, or at times patched together using two different fabrics. The impression of clothing removal contrasting with the proper, almost conservative nature of the original garments struck a compelling tension. Provocative, indeed, without showing much more than a bare arm or leg. While the abundance of slashes and fluttering loose sleeves might be a little tricky for every day, most of the deconstructed elements appeared to be optional offering a sense of versatility.