It’s wonderful and essential that fashion as an industry supports its young. Lord knows, it was a long time in coming. Yet the zeal to support and promote can result in a giddy rush to judgment. In the long run, premature praise in excess can damage a designer and fledgling business as seriously as a too-early write-off.
Fausto Puglisi is a buzzy guy right now. Everyone is curious, and his clothes have begun to perform at retail. On Sunday night he delivered his first full runway show for his own house (he also designs for Ungaro) under an arc of intense expectation.
Hold the coronation. While Puglisi’s work showed promise, it also raised questions. Surely he displayed a sense of bravado. His leather jackets — there were many — indicated a comfort level with complicated constructions, and the clothes looked beautifully crafted. He also telegraphed a sense of purpose; sexpot-biker posturing aside, it was clear that Puglisi’s preferred target audience is adult women rather than ingenues.
The designer said backstage that his concept was “Carolina Herrera meets Axl Rose” — a great line and not inaccurate. But if you plan to seat Carolina and Axl together at your dinner party, maybe you should first ask yourself if they’ll have something to say to each other. Here, the conversation between faux-tough, jewel-encrusted biker jacket and cumbersome evening skirt didn’t go very far.
Then there were the harness bras — grids of leather belts arranged into bra tops. One exiting editor called them misogynistic, but they felt instead like a trick that didn’t work, no more indicative of real misogyny than the overworked palm motif was of a dislike for C.Z. Guest.
Back to the plus side, Puglisi’s shirts and the more fluid of his short skirts showed that somewhere within is a man interested in making real clothes with a flourish. Whether he has what it takes to drive that interest into the forefront of fashion and become a star remains to be seen.