MILAN, Italy — Surfers are having a moment on the catwalks in Milano — '50s surfers, in particular. It's probably just another expression of a widespread need for optimism and escapism. The grim times demand it. Miuccia Prada went there some time ago, splashing abstract florals everywhere. And although she has probably lost her cool factor, she's still the leading force when it comes to Milanese creativity. Where she heads, others follow.
There were slightly Prada-esque patterns, and a general air of '50s appropriateness gone askew at No.21 today. The show was held in a charmingly dilapidated space of a former car park just below the label's new headquarters. Renovations will start soon in order to turn the area into No.21's permanent showspace. The drive and wisdom with which creative director Alessandro Dell'Acqua has created such a successful label with No.21 are remarkable. He is probably not the most original designer, but he has a wonderful knack for grasping what is in the air and giving it his own catchy interpretation.
This season it was sportswear and tailoring, done in sophisticated pastels with classy details such as pajama piping. The byword was nonchalance, and nonchalant it was, with palpable Italian joie de vivre. The Balenciaga sneakers were the only faux pas.