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Time to dispel the notion that lace and embellishment is only for the hopelessly romantic. For A/W’ 11, Antonio Berardi presents a new proposition for romanticism, one that is austere yet elegant. Known for mixing avant garde techniques with more conventional body-conscious silhouettes, Antonio Berardi feeds the ever so urgent need to break women out of the lacey clichés that we often see on the red carpet. Strong A-listers with a more discerning taste in style such as Naomi Watts, Renee Zellweger and yes, Victoria Beckham have made Berardi their evening wear of choice. From what we saw at Audi Fashion Festival 2011, we finally understood why Posh Spice dies for Berardi for its allure is hard to miss, much less to resist.

The show opened with an ivory cashmere felt overcoat with heavily embellished sleeves, which manages to look structured without being severe. And that seems to be the general order of the day: softening architectural looks with plush fabrics and on the contrary, giving the more romantic evening gowns some edge with his signature razor tailoring. Amongst the favourites in the collection are the nude sheath dress with segmented beading that created a nice optical illusion and the glistening metallic vermilion number that fitted like a glove. But the navy viscose evening dress with the angular bodice and French lace was by far the show stopper. The use of metallic twills also created a nice contemporary touch, tying in with the current Zeitgeist of Futurism, Digitalism and the likes, as seen in many recent collections.

Antonio Beradi A/W’11 is a refreshing take on evening wear that will hopefully herald in a Renaissance for this class of apparel. As society veers towards more utilitarian styles to fit its daily practical needs, this once venerable craft becomes increasingly passé. Perhaps this timely new look might be the ticket to making evening gowns as we know it relevant again. Hats off to Antonio Berardi.

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