Antonio Berardi takes his lead from modern architect Oscar Niemeyer and the civic buildings he created for Brasilia in the ‘60s for a thoughtful, sculptural offering for autumn/winter 2013.
'She's sexy, yes, but also a little bit monastic,' he told ELLE of the new-season Berardi woman backstage. ‘It’s about the idea of austerity.’
The hourglass shape that marks out a Berardi classic is there but now, it comes overlaid with origami folds, like a recurring panel down the back of jackets and dresses that came initially stitched in, then trailing loose from the body, and ultimately becoming a grand train that made a simple shell top into a magnificent finale.
Hair was sleek and eyes clean, with a strong red lip adding the only colour, to underline the message of modernity. Even the palette was Niemeyer-led, with the rich reds and forest greens reflective of the inside his buildings and adding a ‘slightly Baroque’ flavour.
‘I looked that the pieces like cityscapes,’ says Berardi. ‘They were like a grid, and then we ate away at them, made parts fade. And whichever way the wearer turns there is something new – an embellishment, a new silhouette.’
And what of those standout angular sleeves, jutting out to a point from the elbow?
‘They’re tapered at the shoulder and then that shape is the fin that you see in [Niemeyer’s] buildings,’ he explained. ‘I liked idea of that flourish.’
So beautifully is it realised that there’s no doubting his customer will, too.