No. 21 Explores Italian Film Noir

No. 21 Explores Italian Film Noir

Story by Kristen Bateman / Photography by Sonny Vandevelde

For fall 2019, No. 21 sought to reinvent the film noir icon as a stylish Italian bad girl. Nearly every single garment had a cut-out, some fully revealing the bottoms of models as they walked the catwalk. "It all comes from an impression I got watching Brian De Palma's 1980 film Dressed to Kill Again," Alessandro Dell'Acqua, creative director of the brand said in a statement. "I was particularly struck by the atmosphere the director created both with his voluptuous use of the movie camera and with the passionate, sensual music of Pino Donaggio, mounting a true symphony of terror on the screen." Here's everything else you need to know about the show.

Revealing Cut-Outs

Cut-outs on the backs of dresses exposed the biggest hints of skin. Along with matching jackets paired with simple bandeau bras, there was no shortage of revealing moments. "I wanted to recreate a similar mood, sending down the catwalk a strong woman who clearly craves to come on sexy and who, with equal awareness, exalts her own ambiguity through clothes that reveal her real intentions," explained Dell'Acqua.


The brand also brought back the off-the-shoulder silhouette, typically reserved for spring and summer clothing. However, in the hands of Dell'Acqua, these pieces were made more wearable with thick winter fabrics or in the form of coats.

Emerald Green

The standout color of the mostly neutral-hued collection? Emerald green. A strapless dress and sequined gown recalled cinematic visions of the early 20th century.

Trench Coat Revival

The most surprising pieces of the show were the revived trench coats. They came patched with metallic fabrics, cut short in the front and long in the back, with military-like structure and even bunched way down below the midriff.

Crystal Mesh

Crystal gems had a presence in the collection but they were used elegantly so as to not overpower the delicate silhouettes. On sheer layers of chiffon shift dresses, skinny, sheer skirts and blush slip dresses felt like an extension of the textile.

Photography: Sonny Vandevelde