Alessandro Dell’Acqua has been at the helm of Rochas for more than a year now, but he has yet to assert his identity at the brand. This season, as in previous ones, the ghost of Marco Zanini continued to hover: He was present, notably, in the collection’s eccentric take on femme, whispering through the gently dissonant palette of construction-cone orange, mustard yellow, blush, black, and white, and speaking at a higher volume via the oversize silhouettes, whimsical prints, and slightly off proportions. Dell’Acqua comes to these themes honestly—they’re expressed in his own No. 21 label as well—and his take on them is gentler than that of Zanini, a designer fond of swashbuckling statements.
Lots of women will be seduced by pieces such as Dell’Acqua’s sheer, gingham-print sundress, with its structuring pleats, or the formal coats in embroidered duchesse satin. If you looked closely, you could see little ballerinas dancing around in the embroidery, one of many nods in the collection to Margot Fonteyn. There were dancer prints, for instance, and frilled and plissé skirts suggestive of tutus. All of which were charming—maybe a little too charming, in the sense that the motif bordered on the twee. A more serious kind of charm operated in the fabrics, particularly the lovely laces and the innovative, squishy knit woven from the slim ribbons typically used to create tweed. Overall, there was a lot to like here, but the collection never surpassed the sum of its parts. For that to happen, Dell’Acqua may need to summon the Ghostbusters.