Unable to move his crew to Posillipo due to safety restrictions, he shot his resort look book in Cattolica, a small seaside town on the Adriatic coast. “Only the sea can give me the sense of freedom I crave, wherever the sea may be,” he said at a showroom appointment at No. 21’s headquarters.
Riffing on the idea of self-expression as a free space of possibilities and creative ‘mistakes,’ Dell’Acqua embraced clashes and contradictions in his new offering. “Breaking codes of conventional adjacencies, what’s more liberating than that?” he asked. “I don’t want to be trapped by rules.” Yet Dell’Acqua is a gentle radical.
Turning to his penchant for glamour, he hybridized sporty tropes from surf and scuba with some razzle-dazzle, adding jarring bits of sex appeal and grunge along the way.
The theme was carried out with a vital, joyful spirit. A pair of black neoprene leggings got the glam treatment, worn under a ’40s-ish black satin draped dress embellished with rhinestones, while a velcro-strapped scuba corset was dressed up in sequins and paired with a multicolored tweed miniskirt sparsely embroidered with feathers.
Rubber shoes were covered in sparkle and glitter, matching a minidress in absinthe green paillettes layered over a nude tulle slip.
On the same note, technical details like heat-sealed zippers or functional drawstrings were given a decorative twist, applied on a see-through lace T-shirt or on a chic crepe de chine top studded in crystals. A cropped neoprene bomber was bonded in luscious satin. “It’s scuba couture,” joked Dell’Acqua.
The men’s line shares with the women’s not only attitude and inspiration but actual interchangeable pieces.
The Hawaiian hibiscus print on a feminine neoprene ensemble was replicated on a distressed corduroy trucker jacket and XXL slouchy pants and an oversized masculine bowling shirt in macramé lace worn with a pair of surf shorts could become a sexy minidress for a night at the beach.
Dell’Acqua is a designer whose antennas are attuned to the zeitgeist; it isn’t surprising that his customer base is rather broad. He recently dressed the Italian actor Sandra Milo, a Fellini muse who appeared in 8 1/2 and Giulietta degli Spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits), in a fabulous figure-hugging pink number. She turned 88 in March.