This Brand's Tomboyish Take On Cocktail Attire Makes Formalwear Feel Fun Again

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Milanese label No. 21 is redefining cocktail attire with its menswear-inspired party pieces.

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Alessandro Dell’Acqua may be a veteran in the fashion industry (he launched his eponymous line in 1996 and recently took the helm of storied French brand Rochas), but when it comes to his four-year-old label No. 21, he’s all about trying new things. “For fall, I used a technique that we call agugliatara in Italian,” he says, referring to the needle-looming method that creates an ombré-like effect by seamlessly weaving fabrics as disparate as flannel and silk. Examples from the collection include a dress that transitions from a knit top toward a sheer swingy skirt and a bomber jacket in wool that becomes sheepskin. The mash-up of materials is fitting since, according to Dell’Acqua, his vision for the season is all about duality: “I envisioned a tomboy going to the ball,” he says of the elegant, boy-meets-girl mix. Standouts include glittery button-downs, slouchy camel trousers and crystal-studded overcoats in a rich palette of black, gray and camel spiked with turquoise and merlot sequins. “They’re pieces that bring a delightful quirkiness and sense of spontaneity to a woman’s wardrobe,” he says.

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