It’s Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s second season at Rochas, and he’s made some adjustments since his rocky debut this February. For Spring, a hummingbird pattern that he lifted from the archives and used as both a print on georgette and as a beaded embroidery on silk faille signaled his intention to lighten things up. His fabrics were often transparent or nearly so. The hand-painted flocked organza of a button-down shirt and a full, calf-length skirt was opulent yet airy. And Dell’Acqua went gung ho for lace, patchworking Chantilly and guipure and macramé on a single slipdress or layering a strapless lace smock over a longer, narrower lace skirt.
Back in Milan, Dell’Acqua’s successful No. 21 line has become the home of the mash-up. He brought some of his preferences for unlikely combinations to bear on the new Rochas—the models’ ribbed ankle socks and paillette-strewn slingbacks being a prime example. Layered over many of today’s delicate, feminine dresses were webbed military belts cinched high above the bust, their buckles stamped “R” for Rochas (a logo motif that turned up elsewhere on button-downs and jackets). It’s unclear what the designer was going for with that styling move. Rock climber? Geisha? Kirsten Owen looked like she had a seat belt strapped across her chest. There’s not much allure in that. Dell’Acqua already has a sophisticated eye for fabric. The next step is learning to believe in the beauty of a simple dress.Nicole Phelps