by Alex R. Travers
Fred Buscaglione once sang, “I found my love in Portofino.” Seems as if Paola Quadretti has too. For Spring 2014, her collection echoed with effusive elements of the Riviera: the ephemeral sunset, first, in her glowing ombré evening gown, three quarter–length sleeve jackets, flare pants, and organza blouses. Fishing around for an alternative, she captured the dynamic blue-green colors of the Mediterranean Sea on a halter blouse paired with languid trousers, all neatly tied together with a chord belt that resembled a dual-head curtain tassel. Quadretti also wove in floral patterns—think Portifino’s colorful daylilies—on flouncy silk Georgette blouses and cropped cigarette pants. There was even a scholarly, lighthearted interplay on the matching separates of a confetti tweed jacket and pencil skirt. New this season was a tuxedo jacket with an open French-lace back—you could imagine Rosemary Hoyt wearing it to lure in Dick Diver.
Quadretti is quite good at designing for the jet set. Still, you can’t accuse her of just crafting purely for the Mesdames: Her bias-cut sheaths with wrap tops have a youthful edge. Ditto for the flare pants, elegantly elongated and made with the finest of Italian silks. To the touch, her fabrics are discernibly luxe—even the organza feels sensual and smooth. When you examine the clothes closely, you’ll unearth more gems: colorful satin linings that show when jacket cuffs are rolled; intricate buttons, all handcrafted; and sophisticated hand-smocking on blouses. And while appreciation to details are Quadretti’s M.O., the designer also excels at molding minute technicalities into exquisite wholes. Her result is Enchanted April, as if seen through the lens of Alfred Hitchcock.