– By Ali Roff –
In a rare juxtaposition of sensually sexy, yet elegant contemporary-ness, Antonio Berardi is known for his figure adorning dresses and chic feminine tailoring. These attributes have made Antonio Berardi’s designs a favourite of well dressed women around the world, and are equally the precise reason you too will fall in love with his designs.
Born in Britain of Sicilian heritage, Berardi takes inspiration from traditional British tailoring. His Italian roots celebrate the feminine form; his designs accentuating hips and waists, indulging and enhancing curves. This attention and dedication throughout his career to a feminine, womanly silhouette is perhaps the reason why his clothes are loved by so many of them.
Designs that make women feel sexy, yet elegant and current, have proved to be a tempting concoction for red carpet success for many celebrities over the course of his career, as proven by his SS09 monochrome trompe l’oeil corset lace panelled dress worn by Gwenyth Paltrow on the red carpet in late 2008. This proceeded to win the Dress of the Year award, as chosen by Lucy Yeomans, editor of Harper’s Bazaar in 2009. Olivia herself is, of course, a fan of Antonio Berardi. She was seen earlier this year at his AW11 show wearing this gorgeous pastel lilac dress (shown above) from his Pre-Fall 2011 collection.
Beginning his career in the 1990’s, a role as assistant to Galliano before he had even been accepted into the prestigious Central Saint Martins of London, is clearly indicative of Berdari’s inevitable success. He graduated from Central St Martins in 1993, emerging into the fashion industry during the same period as Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson; designers who helped raise the profile of London fashion to the influential level it has today.
Aesthetically, Berardi’s collections have seen both evolution and a continuance of specific style throughout his career. While monochrome and airy pastel tones are regular features almost every season, the early stages of his career saw somewhat outlandish and flamboyant collections. His first SS00 to SS01 collections shown in Milan were reasonably subdued; featuring the now iconic figure enhancing dresses and feminine fitted tailored jackets in blacks, whites and pastels. However, as each season progressed, his collections evolved. AW01 consisted of exaggerated silhouettes, fabrics and textures embellished with sequins and ruffles in vibrant rainbow hues which demanded attention. The feel of these pieces did not differ so drastically from the exciting and theatrical work of Galliano, who perhaps left an inspirational mark on Berardi. As his collections evolved, he moved to Paris and then back to London. His designs took on a romantic feel, SS07 for example featured a collection of angel like dresses and sheer bibbed shirts in wistfully fragile chiffon, silk and organza. Monochrome was interrupted only by golden creams and metallic silver lace and silhouettes were increasingly defined.
Of course, his lavishness was not all lost and Berardi continued to surprise and inspire, for example a huge fur yellow coat from AW08 and bright neons in SS09 collection. Yet the slick tailoring and iconic bodycon dresses Berardi is renowned for remained a signature style throughout each fashion cycle.
His most recent SS12 collection did not disappoint, with beautifully romantic with strong clean silhouettes created from crisp tailoring and the embellishment of feminine curves. Patent metallic leather gave the collection an ultramodern feel, and Olivia herself noted in our recent ‘I’m Feeling Futuristic Today’ post that she found futuristic inspiration from Antonio Berardi’s most recent collection. Splashes of crimson reds and leafy greens interspersed between muted tones resulted in a colour palette which was simply stunning. Olivia adores Antonio Berardi’s collections, and given his love of the feminine form, his unique style and his influence on the fashion world, we have good reason to believe you will too.
–Born and based in London, Ali Roff has grown up surrounded by the eccentric and exciting style that London fashion has to offer. She can regularly be found visiting London’s famous markets and museums such as the V&A, and also maintains her personal blog, www.fashionphoenixblog.