Missoni Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection

There’s many a watchword in the world of Missoni, ‘knits’ being the prime. ‘Patterns’ is another, but so is ‘saturation’. Angela Missoni’s real wizardry lies in how she pulls varying textures, prints and techniques to create looks that are always stringently representative of the Maison. Last Spring she brought the knits, the patterns and the saturation via pastel hued arrangements of python. For Fall, she allowed the collection to breath more easily by keeping it all reined in with a trifecta rife with a lax, free-spirit sensibility: zebra print, ruffles and fringe.

The sheer, most of which came patterned painstakingly detailed in fine lace, was the key signal that Missoni was looking to ocean-side easy dressing for the Spring season. Dresses with sheer mid-sections and asymmetrical rows of ruffle at the bottom doubled as a dressier version of a caftan over the two-piece bathing suits with tiny shorts that lay beneath. Slouchy house knits sweaters worn with tiered gypsy skirts also honed in on that ‘casual stroll on the surf’ leisurely vibe. A lovely image, but one that can quickly turn into a snoozefest. To edit the ennui, Missoni not only slanted everything in a coquettish, bohemian asymmetry, but tacked on the fringe wherever it could go for that necessary kinetic energy. Julia Nobis’ fringed maxi dress with a kind of palm frond print came with a matching rust blazer – it was the kind of get-up you could wear to work the first day back from a vacation in the Mediterranean, sans the ‘back to the city’ cheese factor. A lemon yellow blazer with a ruffled planket and matching trousers, on the other hand, would be best left in the isles.

It was an admittedly fun collection, and much more inviting than last Spring’s pungent pastels, but it also veered toward the referential. From the gypsy paysanne ruffles to the 60s psychedelic prints, it smacked of Pucci at instances. Like that means anything to Missoni, a brand who at this point probably pays no heed to its hordes of daily imitators.