Over the last few years, Italian designer Alessandro Dell'Acqua has had quite the rollercoaster ride. After stepping down from his eponymous self-titled label in 2009, he decided to launch N°21 (inspired by his birthday and his lucky number) and has worked with conviction to recreate himself ever since.

Although each collection has been markedly different from the last, the one element that has remained dominant is Dell'Acqua's passion for creating clothing hybrids, and his latest offerings are no exception. Inspired by the Tumblr generation, his SS13 collection hit the ground running at Milan Fashion Week with the first look combining masculine elements with a feminine twist.


Each outfit in the show was experimental yet wearable, mixing sensual fabrics and shapes with contemporary cuts, and mashing lace, lattice and sequins with tailored skirts and boxy crisp white shirts. With a background in lingerie, Dell'Acqua presented details that reflected his past - pencil skirts with side splits, shirts with bra-style detailing and sheer cut tops with visible underwear. After an opening of cobalt blue virginal icons and bright white skirts, shirts and dresses, several colour and pattern phrases appeared; shimmering flocked prints and Swarovski crystals appeared on cream, black and blue pieces, large coins flooded the front of 3 tricky items, a flash of floral metallic purple was teamed with graphic red leather stripes, and leathery diamonds followed an aqua blue fabric printed with falling leaves.


Stand out pieces included a coin covered slim line dress, broken at the waist with white shards and sheer panelling, a blue oversized shift style dress featuring crystal stitching under the bust and black lace inserts at the sleeves and hem, and a pale slate rubber pencil skirt with flocked embellishment teamed with a lace panelled silk blush blouse and metallic clutch bag.

The whole collection felt fresh, free spirited with a naughty edge, upholding the air of 'street style cool' that N°21 embodies. The designer himself described the collection to Vogue as "casual, Italian and classic, mannish, shapes with sexy pencil skirts, very sexy", and we're inclined to agree; this is one brand that will remain at the forefront of the privileged fashionista's wardrobe for years to come.