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SPRING 2020 READY-TO-WEAR: Emilio Pucci

Emilio Pucci, the brand, has the luxury of being able to claim ownership of many of fashion’s current trends. Posh active clothing? Emilio invented it in the ’40s in Zermatt, Switzerland. Carefree resortwear? He popularized it in the ’60s in Capri. Eye-catching prints that make for a great selfie? Well, that’s been going on all along, from Pucci’s start in the ’40s through the label’s many creative directors in the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Now run by an in-house design team, the brand has to grapple with its weighty legacy while looking to the future.

The most exciting propositions this season were the technical ones. A knit catsuit was machine-made in the house’s Vivara print using a technique that seems, on the surface, not too dissimilar to Nike’s FlyKnit technology: woven to spec allowing for zero waste. It’s the sort of bodacious piece that, while appropriate for working out, would be favored by women famous for their walks from the gym to the car. The catsuit was part of the activewear segment of the Spring collection. The main story here was the hybridization of silk twill and knits to evoke a workout uniform, even if the wearer would never break a sweat in it.

From there the design team segued into glamorous vacationwear. The caftans, flowing skirts, and scarf tops were perfectly Pucci—and maybe a little expectedly so, with sunset colors and a poolside aura. New advances in craftsmanship allowed for laser-cut printed cady fringe and raffia printed with the house’s swirling patterns on dresses and skirts that added a bit of Emilio’s futuristic spirit to the collection, even if the decorative flourishes lacked the purpose of the house’s founder. In the eveningwear section, beadwork evoked jewelry’s sculptural curves, while party frocks came in double-layer jersey with dramatic draped sleeves. Again, these were clothes that, while meticulously made and considered, were still tethered to the archive. To make Pucci a trendsetter today, the brand might want to loosen its grip a little on its historic past.

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