Vivetta Pre-Fall 2022 Collection

With a few exceptions, women designers don’t live in the fashion bubbles that their male counterparts seem to inhabit. They mostly lead normal, relatable, hardworking lives—work and family, family and work. Occasionally, they give birth to babies, who differ from other babies only in the fact that they’re provided with a rather fabulous wardrobe from day one. Vivetta Ponti just welcomed her third child, an adorable little angel called Nina. She also just moved into a bigger apartment while working on multiple collections, the pandemic raging outside the door notwithstanding. Her nanny has been sick and on leave. On a Zoom call, she looked chirpy and fresh as a rose. One wonders how she does it. Ponti just shrugged, brushing the question aside.

Ponti may be rooted in reality, but she has the magical thinking and poetry of a child—obsessive, surreal, and obstinate. “My collections are like dreams without logic,” she said. The abundance of references she scatters across them apparently don’t make sense. Yet, as is the case for pre-fall, they improbably coalesce in the form of covetable dresses printed with collages of old Flemish paintings, quilted piuminos with incongruous trims of feathers, and gray flannel pant suits boasting collarettes embroidered with graceful intertwined hands whose nails are painted red.

It comes as no surprise that Ponti likes André Breton, the father of Surrealism. “What he said is that we have to free the mind and recapture the sense of wonder, beyond any aesthetic or moral worry,” she explained. That’s easier said than done, but giving her imagination, free rein seems to come naturally for Ponti. With what she called “contemporary deconstructivism,” she practiced what Breton preached, mixing the psychedelia of the ’60s and the minimalism of the ’90s, the somber atmospheres of Flemish old masters’ paintings with “psycho-pop surrealism,” and Victorian tapestries and Op Art. Fluctuating between huge padded stoles in the form of embracing hands, fluorescent Lolita–esque lingerie twisted into evening dresses, and demure pleated skirts fit for a schoolteacher, the world of Vivetta Ponti is not unlike a twilight zone—sweet and a bit kooky—where fashion is a dream, and reality is just over the rainbow.

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