Antonio Berardi has created a place for himself in London, his adopted fashion home, that is all his own. It accommodates all of his Italian polish and the creative edge that belies his St Martins training and apprenticeship with John Galliano. He may have been based back in his native Italy for the past 12 years, but he returns each season to a slot on the London Fashion Week schedule where his show has become an unmissable event.
We know all too well that the fashion buying public is polarised between the ‘haves’, with their fabled spending power and those who are by comparison ‘have-nots’: a bracket more and more Brits find this economy has landed them in. A kind of catwalk schizophrenia has set in: does the smart designer chase the silly ‘new’ money which gravitates to embroidery and bling with lots of noughts on the price tag. Or do you cater to the market that can still be persuaded to splurge but wants to be sure what they splash out on will last longer in their wardrobe than one season. One is happy with a passing fad. The other wants staying power.
Pleasing polar opposites is a tough call. And it’s often pretty easy to see where each designer is making their pitch. Few figure it out right down the middle. I’d suggest that Antonio Berardi is one of those few. With a budget where every pound counts, I would invest in his suit with it’s sunray pleated skirt and origami tailored jacket. I would save for the sharp white tux and straight legged pants. I dream of the red chiffon fishtail gown with 1940’s shoulders and I am recommending the empire line silk dress with its embroidered bolero to a summer bride. But I am also expecting to see the pearl or silver embroidered chiffon gowns stepping out of Bentleys and Bugattis from Rio to Riyadh.
Antonio Berardi’s is Italian luxury with British energy that makes it a no brainer for a modern woman with her sights set on a wardrobe that gets her noticed.
- Paula Reed