N21

Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s lucky number

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Alessandro Dell’Acqua is no newcomer to fashion. After studying graphic design, he secured a contract with Genny, then worked briefly with Gianni Versace.

Not long after that, he joined the frontline Italian fashion house Pietro Panoforini, which specializes in knitwear. His reputation grew fast, leading him to work with brands like Les Copains, Iceberg and Mariella Bruni. In 1996, the designer presented his first prêt-à-porter collection in Milan and his first menswear line in Florence two years later. During the next few years, he branched out into shoes, sunglasses and perfume. Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s style became more refined and identifiable: his offbeat, eccentric creations employed luxurious fabrics in pastel shades that cut a contrast with the simple, formal articles he added to them. The aim was sensual, modern outfits to highlight the figure.

It wasn’t long before Alessandro Dell’Acqua set himself a new challenge, creating the label “N°21”. The figure is a reference to his birthday, but more than that, his lucky number. His signature creations took on a new edge, and the designer drew inspiration from his muses. He explained his motivation in several interviews, “I love the style of Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, Franca Sozzani, Cate Blanchett, they are fashionistas but not fashion victims, and that’s the kind of woman I like to dress”. The quality of the clothes was still crucial, but he dropped the cocktail and evening dresses and put the focus on pieces that make women look well dressed and elegant, but resolutely casual. He explained that “N°21” marked a turning point that logically took his designs one step further but was also aimed at the customers that had grown with him.

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“N°21” comprises a decidedly modern female wardrobe that features details from menswear. The combination of shapes and feminine-masculine fabrics has become the brand’s trademark. Alessandro Dell’Acqua worked on devising a whole new approach that brought together his superb knowledge of knitwear and textures to offer something as yet unseen in prêt-à-porter. He conjured up a light touch by combining all the facets and changes in the world of fashion. The press was immediately positive, with an ever-increasing number of articles about the fashion house, which appealed to numerous celebrities.

Recently, the designer was appointed to head the Rochas brand, an opportunity that he has enthusiastically described as a second chance from the industry: “At age 50, I wasn’t expecting it. There are so many young creators out there. It’s an honor to have this chance…” Label “N°21” continues to enjoy success, and Dell’Acqua has made it clear that the brand he considers as “his baby” will live on in parallel with his new life.

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