Alessando Dell’Acqua is a master of contrasts — masculine versus feminine, delicate versus tough. His fall collection for No. 21 was a mash-up of Thirties influences with sportswear, with a dose of grunge sprinkled in.
Sheer slipdresses, some embroidered with dense silver and gold foliage, were paired with chunky knits and chubby fur coats in asymmetrical color blocks. Fuzzy plaids, gingham shirting and heavy brogues referenced the opposite end of the gender spectrum.
Accessories included oversize duchesse satin backpacks and shoes that blended sparkly embellishment with plain utility straps.
“I really liked this idea of contrasting this extreme femininity and lightness of the Thirties with something more brutal and masculine,” Dell’Aqua said backstage. “The attitude is a bit grunge, a little brave, let’s say, with this concept of putting together items that don’t really match.”
His dress-in-the-dark approach produced some improbable combinations, such as a yellow-and-mustard plaid jacket with leopard-print mohair panels, worn over a crinkled blue satin shirt, a shrunken orange intarsia sweater and a forest-green tiered satin skirt. Call the fashion police? Somehow, it worked.
Not all his experiments were as original: Sunset-patterned knits had the same thrift-store aesthetic as Saint Laurent’s recent Surf Sound collection. Dell’Aqua was at his best when giving the gender-fluid aesthetic his singular spin – an oversize gray sweater embroidered with flowers was a perfect example.