According to Serge Azria, Joie‘s Spring ’14 collection was all about celebrating—and elevating—white. “I wanted to make white not so simple,” said the contemporary label’s creative director and CEO during the presentation, which marked the twelve-year-old brand’s second New York fashion week effort. Joie’s new lineup was a palette cleanser, offering a host of easy separates and frocks in every tint of Azria’s chosen hue. He contrasted a stark white elongated blazer with a romantic pleated silk skirt in soft eggshell. Similarly, a sporty bright white sailing jacket popped against an oatmeal and black striped sweater.
Elsewhere, Azria enriched the shade with varying textures, like eyelet—used for a high-waisted cotton pencil skirt—or slick leather, which looked best as a pair of cropped, flair-calf trousers. The concept was applied to accessories, too—for instance, pointed cream and tan leather flats were laser-treated, causing them to look like they were made from stingray.
Inspired by a recent trip to Ponza, an island off the Amalfi Coast, Azria injected his Spring range with an air of vintage Italiana. One linen dress with a fitted skirt and blousy bodice that revealed just enough of the model’s décolleté was simultaneously effortless and va-va-voom. The Mediterranean inspiration also moved Azria to include pops of cerulean and navy. “All of the houses in Ponza were white and the doors were all blue. It looked like a painting!” he recalled. The scene was re-created in his Chelsea show space. He worked indigo into bold stripes, which ran down a three-quarter-length skirt, a billowing short-sleeved blouse, and a structured workwear jacket. An azure brushstroke print on a flippy little jupe was lovely, and a navy drawstring skirt—which was basically a silk, feminine alternative to sweatpants—looked particularly comfortable. Most of the spaghetti-strap and short-sleeved crop tops—while sweet on the models—will be near impossible to wear if you’re of normal human proportions. But a bouncy, open-back A-line frock had “summer classic” written all over it.
The ninth-floor penthouse once belonged to the Gucci who was gunned down by his wife. It was bare bones when the Cavallis came across it, but Daniele Cavalli instantly felt its rightness for his vision. He thought it essential to create an environment that spoke about style, not fashion, to launch the new men’s collection. In 15 days, the huge apartment was transformed
into the Cavalli version of a traditional gentlemen’s club. There was a lot of purple and pony skin, and a view of the Duomo for which people would sell their firstborn.
Daniele Cavalli is 26. He has been directing the menswear arm of his family’s business for two years. Tonight, Dad was laid up at home with the flu, and as Daniele walked guests through his playland, his enthusiasm was barely contained. Total control! Still, he sounded like a chip off Roberto’s block when he talked about making his own prints using an instrument called a
teleidoscope. Unlike a kaleidoscope, it fractures reality into a thousand glittery fragments. Everywhere, there were teleidoscopic prints: feathers, snakeskin, flowers, on jackets, matching shirts and ties. They contributed to the uniquely Cavalli-esque quality of the daywear, though it was already there in spades in a crocodile-printed pony coat, or another one in leather with bejeweled buttons and buckles.
But Daniele didn’t really give the impression that daywear was where his heart lay. He became positively electric as he entered the salons where the eveningwear was displayed. “I want the Cavalli man to be the equal of the Cavalli woman,” he proclaimed; considering her wanton allure, that will be a tall order. But Daniele gave it a shot with a full range of evening jackets, from basic black tux to Vegas-beaded extravaganza. There were shoes and bow ties in every texture from feather to croc, and cufflinks that ran a gamut from semiprecious bees to small, discreet squares of white python. (Nice, those.) The photographer Rankin produced a
portfolio of images and videos to illuminate the collection. All in all, it was an ambitious leap into the future from a young someone whose strands of DNA are twisted with glitz. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so they say. Anyway, everything looks better with a view.