MFW: ROCCOBAROCCO F/W 2014

Pompeii is a big topic around Milan given the new movie that opens this weekend about the ancient city. So Rocco Barocco decided to tap into that sentiment which probably runs stronger here in Italy than most Americans can possibly imagine. Frescoes depicting life in the city adorned the walls of the Piazza Mercanti and dominated pre-show conversation, though I’ve not run across anyone yet who’s actually seen the movie.

There’s a humorous point to be made here. Figures portrayed in the frescoes are most decidedly, for the most part, not wearing any clothes. Whether the people of Pompeii had a habit of running around naked, or if the frescoes were just painted by some ancient equivalent of a guy with a camera (“Hey baby, everyone’s posting nude frescoes on their Pompeiibook wall.”), one can only speculate.

What everyone noticed about this collection is the prints. They are simple, to be sure. There’s nothing terribly difficult about what is essentially a Romanesque look applied to modern fabrics. Yet, Barocco works them into such feminine patterns as to make something as easy as a black and white check print come off as absolutely stunning.

Fabrics start with wool tweed, which is seasonally appropriate and certainly a fabric we’ve seen used heavily this season. The first several looks are totally wearable because of this. Finely tailored suits are the anchor points early on, though the few knit dresses he tosses in are quite attractive as well. When Rocco moves into leather, though, the collection really takes off. Warning: these slacks are made to be worn close to the body. You know that crack I made earlier about nudes? Well, wearing these slacks is almost the same thing; they are meant to be skin tight.

Gold and silver leaf come in abundance from the 15th look through the remainder of the collection with gold, of course, dominating. The Romanesque leaf design works nicely as a detail touch on pants and around the hems of dresses and skirts, and the gold collars he introduces toward the end are going to be expensive but very desirable accessories this fall.

Where one sees what we traditionally think of as Romanesque fashion comes in the evening gowns, soft and flowing. These are everything one would expect with silhouettes that hug and shape the body and trains that billow in the wind. I do believe at least a couple of these dresses had to be constructed simply because they are going to take such beautiful pictures. In fact, when you buy one, and you know you want to, call me and we’ll set something up.

From here, I’m going to guess that the front part of the collection is what will actually end up selling the best because it is the most practical. Those leather pants fit so snugly I seriously doubt whether one can sit in them without needing some breathing assistance. Heaven forbid one wear these after eating something that upsets your colon. The evening dresses are, of course, spectacular, but so is their price point. Go for those tweeds first and then let your collection and wardrobe expand from there.

Of course, we all know what ultimately happened to the dear folks in Pompeii. Perhaps someone should ask Rocco if his clothes have any fire retardant qualities …

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