This wasn’t a usual menswear collection coming from No21. No runway, but a look-book, plus a showroom presentation; unexpectedly, relaxed and colourful; and a brave idea coming up on the horizon. Alessandro Dell’AcQua introduced his spring-summer 2017 collection in a brief, yet convincing way: “It’s not about genderless manifestos, cross-dressing, unisex style,” he said in his showroom. “It’s not the borrowed-from-the-boys trite stereotype either. Girls are girls: If they’d like to have a piece from my men’s collection, they can have it in the right fit. I’m just being practical here.” And this is how a new line of No21 sets off, called No21 Petite Taille. Simply speaking, it’s not another gender-fluid project, which tries to knock off Eckhaus Latta – it’s a service that will let the female part of No21 clients buy men clothes, but in scaled down sizing. From one side, there’s a reason why women take their boyfriends’ or husbands’ clothes – undoubtedly, it has this “spark” of being in a relationship, right?; from another, it makes it all easier, as the clothes don’t look too over-sized, too mannish. For now, the new line seems quite exciting, and predictably, other brands might do the same. But time will show, whether girls are willing to sacrifice their love for real, real menswear.
It’s surely not the first time, when a menswear collection makes space for womenswear, and in Milan, it’s alrady a tradition with Gucci and Prada. Dell’AcQua makes the boys’ wardrobe less complicated, less layered, but filled with revisited, daily essentials. The word cool plays a role this season for the Italian designer. “We cast a young cool boy and a girl. They could be friends, lovers, brother and sister—doesn’t matter. No makeup artist and no hairdresser, and they chose their clothes themselves directly from the racks. I wanted it to feel natural, carefree, real.” The effect is just like Alessandro wanted it to be – laid-back, Hawaii varsity jackets, bold parkas, floral details mixed with colourful checks and Elvis t-shirts are only some examples of the most energetic pieces, for the boys, and for Petite Taille. However, it’s not No21 without lace, which was used in a variety of shirts. Still, it’s slouchy and chill, without being pretentious.