Nonoo Spring 2012 Presentation — Italian Riviera Chic
Many of designer Misha Nonoo’s formative years were spent in London, where she was raised, and in Paris, where she honed her skills as a fashion designer. For her Nonoo Spring 2012 collection, then, Misha embarked on an imaginative journey to the European locales of her past, then sauntered down to the Italian Riviera, a popular strip with picturesque towns and cities selected as backdrops for Hollywood films like 1954’s The Barefoot Contessa, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner and filmed in Portofino, and The Talented Mr Ripley, starring Matt Damon and Jude Law and filmed in part in San Remo.
A cinema buff, Misha Nonoo looked to the impressive film canon of the late Italian director Luchino Visconti for inspiration, focusing on the most lavish and romantic films in his repertoire — among them The Leopard, about a noble man struggling to maintain his aristocratic status amid social and political upheaval, and 1954’s Senso, in which an Italian countess entertains an illicit affair with an Austrian lieutenant. Visconti’s melodramatic cinematography, his elegant directorial style, and the lavish costumes worn by his aristocratic characters all helped to create a nostalgic view of nobility that Misha could reference when crafting her pieces.
Another classic Italian fashion icon, Countess Consuelo Crespi, provided inspirational fodder — in fact, some of the longer hemlines seen in the collection, as well as the chic skirt suits, seemed to celebrate the late fashion icon’s aesthetic.
The Nonoo Spring 2012 presentation, held at Milk Studios, incorporated stylistic elements from Rome, London, Greece, Venice, Paris, and Portofino. The crisp white, floor-length Alessa dress (pictured fourth from top), for example, had a Grecian flair thanks to the draped back, the Olympus-worthy gold sequin details along the rounded neckline, which stretched from one collarbone to the next, and the asymmetrical hemline, which fell higher along the front and extended lower along the back. Similarly, the golden taupe, silk Ariana dress (pictured second from top) recalled ancient Roman garb with its blouse-y bodice, slim sleeves, and flowing maxi skirt. And, of course, the ruby-colored satin Alessandra dress, with its fluid silhouette, halter-like construction, delicately pleated bodice, and waist tie, sung in operatic tones, standing out as perhaps the most opulent-looking garment in the collection.
Unfortunately, though the evening dresses felt sophisticated and, at times, grandiose, they lacked the personality and youthfulness we’ve come to expect from Misha Nonoo — not to mention her fresh point-of-view. Instead, the designer excelled when crafting some of the cheekier, more casual pieces in the line, ensembles involving cropped pants, lightweight blazers and jackets, and lush jersey tanks and tops.
One of the standout looks combined the cobalt blue, floor-length, silk Adelina skirt with the sunny yellow Chiara blouse, topping off the look with a white blazer featuring slightly exaggerated shoulders (shown at top, at far left). Another highlight involved the gold sequin Bonafina Shorts paired with the matching Grazia jacket and the casual, white jersey Annina Blouse (picture above, next to last). Both looks involved pieces that captured the effervescence of the Italian Riviera while being sprinkled with a dose of Parisian zest for a Serena Van der Woosen-worthy flair (as a matter of fact, some of the looks reminded me of the Bohemian glam outfits Blake Lively wore during the first two episodes of Gossip Girl‘s Season Four, which were shot in Paris). Best of all, these Nonoo looks were styled to perfection, with models donning dapper fedoras, vintage sunglasses, and London chic, lace-up jazz flats.