“The most important thing is the materials,” said Brunello Cucinelli during his spring presentation. He was correct. Without the uberupscale assortment of crisp linen, wool linen, fuzzy “cotton fur,” raw cotton and silk, the collection could have passed for a variation on Club Monaco and its brethren.
The look was pristine tomboy sportif, loosely inspired by Années Folles in the Twenties with tennis sweaters and pinstripes mixed with Japanese-influenced ultrawide culottes that had exaggerated fold-over waists. Cast in a palette of soothing neutrals — ivory, ecru, butter and sand, punctuated by black and charcoal — the showroom had the aura of a fancy fabric softener commercial. Silky, clean and relaxed.
The lifestyle Cucinelli’s collection conjured was certainly appealing in its moneyed, preppy ease, as were many of the knits, T-shirts and crisp white wrap skirts and pants. But the cumulative effect of all the white and off-white with the contrast of avant, mannish cuts and hyper-feminine details can be neutralizing in a bland way. Unfortunately, decorating the striped trim on blazers, sweaters, pants and even tony shower sandals with the house signature (and slightly cheesy) silver Monili detail didn’t solve everything.