Fausto Puglisi has been rebelling against the shackles of good taste since Day One, and at times it’s been hard to tell who emerged the victor in that battle. For fall, he waged on with an exultation of excess through a clash of archetypes: Diana Vreeland, Sicilian baroque, punks in a Venetian palazzo, zany cat ladies, the good old bourgeoisie and mannish tailoring. The result was a collection for the most interesting woman at the party — clothes that would either make you strike up a conversation or run for the door. It was consistent with his body of work.
Puglisi has a way with ornamentation more than anything. There are a million leather moto jackets and skimpy dresses on the market, and Puglisi cut his to reveal — by way of generous side cutouts, skirts double slit above the hip bone, asymmetric straps and wrap skirts that flash a little flesh. What set his apart was the extreme decoration: hefty gold chains tracing straps and spiky sunburst medallions with colorful cabochon centers draped across the hips. The peak display of Italian ostentation got giddy when it collided with the hyper preppiness of coral embroideries and necklaces. Styled with intensely aggressive over-the-knee combat boots that also had bejeweled accents, the models looked like Palm Beach, Fla.’s worst nightmare, defying good taste — but in a great way.