Peter Dundas' Emilio Pucci sells sex. And sells it very well, too. There's something, you may say, of the Versace about the designer - or at least of Gianni in his glory years, selling vamped-up, tramped-up and unabashedly glitzy dresses to the rich and famous. 'I would be a very rich man, if I could make sexy dresses,' Versace once protested at this moniker. But by that point, he already was one - and if Peter Dundas isn't already, he's well on his way.
Dundas, it seems, can sex up anything. Look at his Autumn/Winter 2011 collection - a jaunt through the Alps, filled with dirndls, Tyrolean costume references and a few throwbacks to the nineteenth-century Empress Sissi of Austria. What Dundas boiled all that down to was a selection of curvy, corseted dresses in wool and velvet, some spangled with Sissi's trademark star-shaped diamonds, pinched-in dandyish jackets with skinny trousers, and lashings of embroidery. With a few Von Trapp hats for styling flavour.
Business as usual at Palazzo Pucci then, but this time Dundas did move his look on an inch or so. Actually, he moved his hemlines down a good few inches (they couldn't have got any higher, after all), with most of those 'day dresses' - a Pucci paradox if ever there was one - hovering about the knee. The nighttime ones were even longer, his finale trio of poison-green gowns slit to the waist and slashed quite a bit above, ready to be filled by the heaving, aerobicised body of some budding starlet.
Oddly enough, it was the trussed-up primness of Sissi and the firm-seamed Loden of Tyrolean attire that formed the backbone of this collection. What Dundas interpreted that as was a few puffed shoulders that harked back to something vaguely between 1850 and 1900, and waist-in tits-up corsetry, slashed open at the poitrine. The colour palette was mainly deep greens and purples - the Pucci prints, this time resembling Liberty patterns or Willaim Morris wallpaper, swirled out in those shades too, re-interpreted inventively in devore velvet, Swarovski crystals and peacock-hued sequin embroidery.
Maybe that peacockery inspired Pucci's non sequitur of a fluffy marabou mini-dress that flounced out at one point. It certainly didn't influence Dundas' first foray into menswear, a somewhat uninspired lot of sleazy seventies turtlenecks and boxy double-breasted tuxes. Is it too much to hope that with all this glitter on offer, the Pucci man might hope for something slightly flashier than a whirly-print bathrobe and velvet slippers? Those would have been showcased better in a low-key showroom presentation rather than this high-exposure and otherwise high-octane catwalk extravaganza.