Henri Matisse’s paper cutouts have never looked so fresh. In a season rich with bold prints, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi channeled the French master’s graphic shapes into everything from delicate lace skirts to statement coats, accessorizing a handful of the looks with one-of-a-kind Buccellati earrings.
The duo was inspired by a visit to Matisse’s Chapel of the Rosary in southern France and a recent exhibition of his cutouts at London’s Tate Modern museum. “It’s the balance between beauty and calm, and the contrast between luminous color and opaque matter — that sums up the Chapel,” Aquilano said backstage.
There were sheer lace dresses and skirts embroidered with a web of dragonflies and floral motifs — a nod to Matisse’s Orientalist leanings. These contrasted with matte fabrics such as natural linen and paper-thin blush leather, which was used for a Fifties-style belted dress worn with a gray knit bolero.
Next came shots of intense Matisse blue. It was used all over, for example on a sleeveless blue duchesse silk dress printed with an oversize cutout shape; or in brushstrokes — literally, in the case of the dragonflies hand-painted on a black dress with a frayed hemline and slim natural leather straps at the neckline.
The cutouts reappeared as pastel satin appliqués on a black organza voile apron. By tying it over a sheer pink long-sleeve shirtdress, the designers struck a skillful balance of darkness and light.