Elisabetta Franchi loves a theatrical theme, and after last season’s homage to Eva Perón, she cycled back in time to the American wheat fields of the late 19th century, complete with wide-brimmed straw hats and prairie skirts in silk, tulle and sequins.
The show opened with a cinema-sized screen showing a time-lapse film of the sun rising over a little house set among the golden stalks. It cast a warm orange glow over Franchi’s catwalk, which rapidly filled with folksy characters dripping in lace and tulle, wearing high collars and pouf sleeves like the fancy city folks from a Willa Cather novel.
The costume-y collection wasn’t tied to any particular trend or season — Franchi usually whistles her own tune — but there were still some pretty, if dramatic, looks such as sweeping cotton dresses with pouf sleeves, little ruffles or deep V-necks and backs. There were longer dresses done in Swiss dot fabric, and shorter ones in silk voile with little ruffles details and high waists, or big bows at the neck.
It’s unclear, though, how much an elaborate wheat shaft motif, picked out in copper sequins on denim sailor-style trousers, or on tight black shorts, will appeal, or who will wear the big denim prairie skirts with — yes — petticoats underneath, in a nod to Eighties Laura Ashley, and the rosy glow of a simpler life.