No. 21: A new Querelle for cool guys
“Yet each man kills the things he loves... The coward does it with a kiss; The brave man with a sword!”, in the immortal words of Oscar Wilde.
This couplet from The Ballad of Reading Gaol formed the refrain of a torch song sung by Jeanne Moreau in R. W. Fassbinder’s famed, final film Querelle, the inspiration for a collection of sleek, street chic at No. 21 by designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua.
Staged inside a garage in north Milan on a crisp Monday morning, this is what Italy is all about when it is at its best - producing plausible and flattering menswear for young men who want to look crisp and cool.
Impeccably cut boyish suits with boxy double-breasted and flat-front pants worn with great patent leather trimmed boots; clever plasticized Gattaca-style shirts and excellent duffle coats in ideal proportions, made in calf skin or bouclé wool. There were, perhaps, a couple of too-close homages to Helmut Lang, like the black wool redingotes with the horizontal satin band, but always done with sufficient sensilbility and sensuality to make them Dell’Acqua’s own. In short, a cool, highly wearable and definitely commercial hit from this ever popular designer.
The stars seem to be aligning perfectly for Dell’Acqua. His own fashion house No. 21, bankrolled by Iceberg owner Paolo Gerani, is on fire. At his evening job, designing for Rochas in Paris, he has carved out a unique body of work. And, in his latest project, the debut Factory Collaboration for Tod’s, he has brilliantly reworked the signature pebbled soles of that house’s driving shoes.
“Ale has both opened up a new era for us, and is selling extremely well. It’s a win-win,” says Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle.
So, we can celebrate visual glory of Querelle, without its violent excesses.
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