Antonio Berardi – whose fashions are being featured in Mary Jane Denzer’s new store near The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester in White Plains – is one designer who gives you food for thought.
His tough-tender couture – which accentuates the curves of the female body – references everything from the Roman Catholicism of his parents’ native Sicily to David Bowie. On his website, you’ll see a silhouette dress whose blue-and-white print of 3-D boxes echoes the trompe l’oeil effects of the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. Indeed, trompe l’oeil is something of a Berardi specialty. In 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow created a sensation when she wore his “corset dress” – actually the design of a black lace corset on the front and back of a short white dress with spaghetti straps – to the premiere of her film “Two Lovers.” The outfit was dubbed “Dress of the Year” by Harper’s Bazaar in 2009.
Such looks embrace the female shape, so it’s no wonder that Berardi has in turn been embraced by such stars as Jessica Alba, Lily Allen, Victoria Beckham, Kate Beckinsale, Beyoncé Knowles, Kim Cattrall, Monica Cruz, Bryce Dallas Howard, Fergie, Megan Fox, Anna Friel, Ashley Green, Blake Lively, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Julianne Moore, Amber Rose, Zoe Saldana, Kerry Washington, Naomi Watts, and Renée Zellweger. Minogue in particular has been a mainstay. She was the primary model for his first fashion week collection in London in 1995.
Berardi was actually born in Great Britain, to which his parents immigrated in the 1950s, and decided on a career in fashion at an early age. He graduated from the baccalaureate program at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, the University of the Arts London and was also for a time assistant to the designer John Galliano.
Though he has shown in Paris and Milan, Berardi is primarily based in London. But fashionistas here needn’t hop across the pond, thanks to Denzer, who counts him among the exciting younger designers she likes to feature.
For more, visit antonioberardi.com and maryjanedenzer.com.