LFW: ANTONIO BERARDI F/W 2014

As the fourth day of London Fashion Week begins, one can begin to see how the grueling schedule is taking its toll on those at Somerset House and the places around it. People are moving slower this morning, still attempting to be chipper for the sake of out-of-towners, but definitely in need of more sleep than anyone has received. The whole front row seemed to still be rubbing its eyes as they sat down for the first show of the day, and it is probably fortunate for most that what Antonio Berardi sent down the runway was somewhat predictable and short on anything that might cause one to spill their morning tea or coffee.

No, I’m not saying the Berardi collection was boring by any stretch of the imagination. His use of metallics in this fall/winter 2014 collection was quite well done. Mint green and bright pink metallic inserts did a fantastic job of bringing some life into his ensembles and transforms what might have otherwise been normal daywear into pieces that can serve both before and after 5 without insulting either.

Berardi is a master when it comes to body-contoured design and he utilizes a couple of different methods in this collection that wonderfully emphasize a woman’s natural shape. One is so subtle that I almost missed it: a gently curved asymmetrical hem. Typically, when we see an asymmetrical hem it is stark, one panel longer than the other in folds or jagged edges. What Antonio has done is curve the hem where it would naturally be stretched as one walks. As a result, these very short skirts are much more flattering to the legs. The other element he uses deftly is cut-out panels, especially favoring the crown cut we’ve seen a few times this season. Berardi blends the fabrics brilliantly in these panels so they not only provide a change of colour and texture, but also emphasize a woman’s natural curve.

A couple of things probably looked good on paper but didn’t quite translate as well in real life. One was his use of peplum. Fortunately, those over-sized ruffles only came up twice in the collection, but both times they did it was not pretty. Instead of emphasizing the curve from waist to hip, this high-placed peplum diminished the waist and just looked unsightly. The other piece … I have to be very careful in my description. Berardi uses a lace-up ankle-tied shoe for several of his looks that is extremely attractive. Then, for a number of those looks he tops the shoe with a leather lace-up legging. The effect is supposed to be that of thigh-high boots, and when the leggings are worn correctly the effect is phenomenal. However, being leggings, they are subject to shifting. This being a fast-paced fashion show, many of the leggings were askew, some horribly so. When the leggings are off-center, the effect is not flattering at all but rather gives the appearance of something being amiss with the poor girl’s leg.  Whether this was just an error of haste or one of design, I cannot say. Either way, the concept needs some more work.

A sign backstage instructed models to be exciting and “wake them up!” Certainly, Antonio Berardi’s show did a wonderful job of pulling everyone out of the morning doldrums. This is a strong collection of classic Berardi styling which should sell very well this fall.

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