The tension between masculine and feminine has always been a hallmark of Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s aesthetic, but the Italian designer tackled the concept with renewed verve in his spring collection for No. 21.

Men’s shirts provided the canvas for his explorations. Among his inventive variations, an oversize blue oxford cloth shirt was embellished with jet beads at the hem and worn as a dress. A cropped white poplin button-up was paired with a sheer black chiffon pencil skirt, layered over matching boxer shorts.

In fact, the boxer shorts — in chiffon, lace or crisp cotton — were a recurring theme, though their use as an underlay for everything from filmy dresses to mannish blazers did not always work.

But Dell’Aqua hit the mark with his oversize pajama shirts in leather and silk versions, which he paired with lavishly embellished pencil skirts for an effortlessly sexy effect.

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