Roberto Cavalli protege Barbara Casasola presented her first fall/winter collection for London Fashion Week this afternoon with a most lovely collection of colours midst the requisite black. For someone so young, the line shows a tremendous amount of maturity and a wonderful sense of sleek, well-tailored styling in the Cavalli tradition. There is a lot of both Italian and Parisian influence coming from this Brazilian-born designer, but at the same time she is making her own statements  on the catwalk. I like this collection a lot.

That being said, I am still haunted by a few thoughts.

  1. We’ve seen flats and block heels in so many collections the past couple of seasons that it would seem models have forgotten how to walk on heels. The shoes Ms. Casasola chose to go with this collection are not especially high nor are the heels especially narrow. Yet, multiple models had wobbly walks and one ended up having to carry her shoes because she broke the heel. Yes, I blame the models rather than the shoes this time.
  2. I’m just going to assume those hats were influenced by Vivienne Westwood and let it go at that.
  3. It’s a good thing they don’t let many adolescent boys into these shows. There were more visible breasts in this collection than one would see in two hours’ time at a strip club.
  4. Monochrome purple can be a very, very hot look.

The strong points in this collection come in the suits and jumpers that dominate the first part of the collection. These are all very sleek, closely tailored pieces designed to fit well and look sharp. The challenge Ms. Casasola is likely to face, and I think she knows it, is that those pieces may actually come off as a bit old-fashioned. I will admit that there was more than one ensemble where I found myself thinking, “Mother would have loved that one.” My mother has been dead for over ten years, so that should probably tell you something. Ms. Casasola seemed to be trying to compensate for that conservative look by pairing suits with barely-there bandeau  tops or nothing at all under the jacket, which isn’t that unusual for runways. Still, I could almost hear Mother saying, “You know, I have a blouse that would go perfectly with that.”

Going in exactly the opposite direction, then, Ms Casasola sends down a collection of sheer pieces that are about as seasonally inappropriate as any we’ve seen. Okay, I guess that look might work in her native Brasil, given its tropical climate, but for those of us who live North of the equator these looks go well beyond drafty. Yes, they are quite beautiful, brilliantly styled, and impressively sewn. Yet, no matter how good the heater is in a building, nor how heavy a coat one wears over them, there’s no getting past the fact that wearing something this sheer isn’t much different than standing out in the snow naked.

In the end, its’ a mixed bag that I don’t expect buyers to find too overly exciting. We will almost certainly see some of the suits and jumpers, but everything else is likely to require significant modification before it has any hope of reaching stores.

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