Talk about a switch! Aigner is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season and designer Udo Edling takes the collection in exactly the opposite direction as he did for fall/winter. What was once hard and aggressive is now soft and perhaps even a little passive at times. Dark colors have been replaced by lighter shades and a tremendous amount of white. If last season’s collection was one designed for movie villains, this is one designed for quiet, unassuming, yet extremely well-dressed heroes. Were it not for some of Edling’s familiar silhouettes one might think it were an entirely different label.

One might see a bit of vintage 1960s styling in some of the looks for this spring/summer which is appropriate for a 50th anniversary collection, but to those closely-tailored silhouettes Edling has added sheer layers with subtle embroidery embellishments. Where he doesn’t add sheer, he adds just a scattering of multi-colored jewels; never too much as to overwhelm, a run down one shoulder, a splash along the hip. As a result, he keeps the looks fresh and, for the most part, prevents the collection from taking on the feeling of being too retrospective. While there is plenty of tradition in the looks, there’s also a sufficient contemporary feel.

Working from a color palette that starts with neutral tones and only casually wanders into lilac and a very light gold, where the collection begins to falter is that the contemporary touches given it are exactly the same contemporary touches given to every other collection we’ve seen this season. A bit  more color would have gone a long way toward preventing the yawns there kept popping up through the sizable audience. No one really wanted to admit they were bored, but as the color palette stayed passive and the styles looked just a little too familiar, it was challenging to maintain interest for the entire twelve minutes.

There is one curious element and that is the mesh visors Udo occasionally uses. We’ve seen lace over the face before, and that’s certainly an interesting look in its own right. These, however, are thin metal, rigid, ungiving, and in some ways just a little bit creepy with the way light reflects off them. Perhaps this was a nod toward the future? One can only surmise such.

Aigner has been around for 50 years now and is enjoying incredible popularity across Europe and Asia on the strength of the fall/winter line. With a spring/summer collection so opposite, however, the label might find that momentum difficult to maintain.

Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier

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