Roman designer Marco de Vincenzo has a way with fabric. Repeatedly, we have seen him take material and work it to the point it was completely unrecognizable, getting fabric to respond to pulling and stretching and sewing in a such a way that one could not help but be astonished. For this spring/summer season, de Vincenzo unleashes his talent on metallic squares and the result is unlike anything we’ve seen on a runway all season.

In some ways, the collection starts off as a very modern, very hip take on the 1920s flapper dress. Marco has taken squares of metallic fabric and turned them into fringe neatly arranged in rows around the garment. At first glance, one isn’t sure if the square is moving as one piece or several. Depending on the stride and gate of the person, the metallic fringe responds a bit differently, making the effect unique to the wearer. The set doesn’t stay with any one look too terribly long, though, and quickly moves on to knits with a set of sleeveless dresses that, at first glance, appear to be done with traditional color blocking, but on closer inspection one finds that de Vincenzo has used dual-tone thread so that the color changes based not only on how the thread it turned but from which direction the light is hitting it.

Surprises lurk within every new piece the designer sends down the runway. Prints are glittery and exciting, fabrics are carefully sliced and twisted in just the right places, and there’s just enough mesh to say it made an appearance. The collection is really all about squares, though, and it’s when Marco combines the squares and metallic fabrics that it all, quite literally, shines. While not all the squares are as large as those on the first few looks, the theme dominates this season’s styles and his ability to craft that into attractive and reasonable styles is impressive.

Squares are a bit limiting to silhouettes in some cases. de Vincenzo typically prefers clothes tailored fairly close to the body and that becomes a couple of steps more difficult when working with individual squares. Compensation is found in using smaller squares, but even that can’t  match the body-hugging look he achieves with knits. Marco also goes fairly broad on the lapels of jackets so as to have space for metallic gradients that are most effective when set against black satin. There are no gowns in this collection, which is a bit disappointing. One can only imagine how a full-length design might have looked. Instead, hems tend to run well above the knee, making the most of the fabrics without being excessive.

Just after his show last February, fashion power house LVMH announced they were acquiring a minority stake in Marco de Vincenzo, giving him some much needed capital. With this collection, one has to assume that LVMH has invested their money well. No one else is even coming close to achieving what Marco does with fabric and the results are perpetually astonishing.

Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier

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