Translated by
Robin Driver
Feb 21, 2019
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N°21 dresses to kill

Translated by
Robin Driver
Feb 21, 2019

Perched on high-heeled mules and wrapped in a tightly closed coat, a cardigan with large buttons or a little shift dress, the N°21 woman walks out at sundown with not a thought for what might be waiting for her around the street corner. Then suddenly she turns and walks away with hurried steps, revealing an unexpectedly bare back. 

A coat with a split back at the N°21 runway show - PixelFormula

The vertical slit is clean and decisive. Indeed, all of the elegant pieces in silk and satin at the latest N°21 show appeared to have been split, sliced by a razor blade or slit lengthwise with the surgical precision of a knife edge. 

"I started with the film Dressed to Kill by Brian de Palma, more specifically with the trench worn by the murderer. So all of my pieces open at the back, as though cut with a knife," explained designer Alessandro Dell'Acqua. 

"That gives the ensemble an erotic side, a much sexier feel, with a very contemporary spirit. What interested me was the sensuality given off by these clothes that have been cut in two," he continued. 

The result was simultaneously intriguing and fascinating. Beyond the element of surprise, the designer explored the idea of double-sidedness and of the seen and unseen. Split lengthwise down the back, the coats and jackets let their sleeves hang lasciviously, at times revealing a bare shoulder or a chest covered only by a knitted bra. Other pieces, cut horizontally, presented a gaping opening level with the models' shoulder blades. 

The element of surprise at N°21 - ph Dominique Muret

Dell'Acqua had also obviously had fun coming up with as many different solutions as possible for making the collection wearable. Pieces therefore featured two options: classic buttons on the front and a zip at the back. As for the dresses, they were held in place by a simple ribbon knotted at the models' necks and were worn over cigarette trousers and a bra or a retro top and culotte ensemble. 

For those who don't want their back to be on show, the designer proposed a detachable piece of material which could be added to the top of the dresses, where it took on the air of a train. 

Beyond the dresses, the highlight of the collection was undoubtedly its trenches, which the designer completely reimagined, mixing beige cotton with pieces of golden fabric and playing with different lengths. One short jacket version was paired with a classic trench and worn over bare legs. 

N°21's femme fatale - PixelFormula

For the final act of this film noir, after all of the murderous knife work, Dell'Acqua sent out a troubling femme fatale, barely dressed in a cocoon-like blood-red fur coat, flaunting her seemingly endless legs and nonchalantly dangling two mini bags from a golden chain. Fin

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