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Antwerp-based Austrian designer Florentina Leitner knows how to offer up whimsy with an edge. Inspired by the 1975 Australian movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” she paraded a collection full of childhood references with a dark spin and decisive stomp lent in part by a collaboration with Timberland, whose footwear she adorned with rivet-centered floral appliqué motifs.

These were the cutout leftovers from some of the moodier pieces in the collection, done in snakeskin-effect synthetic leather, she explained at her presentation. More evocative of formative years were designs in an outsized gingham that characterized the earlier looks, the naiveté of the pattern contrasting with her body-con silhouettes. Rabbit placement motifs were painted on in her wonderland, coupled with figure-hugging shapes in pastel lace, oodles of flouncing yet geometric ruffles and asymmetric puffball skirts of varying lengths.

Printed corduroy in a dainty floral motif, seen on a jean jacket and matching bonnet, seemed to nod to Little Bo Peep, while cherries from the picnic became jewelry that jangled as earrings or accessories on the shoes as the models walked past the guests, seated cross-legged on the damp grass installed at the indoor venue for the occasion. In Florentina Leitner’s world, fashion folks are encouraged to get into character and take a part in the story.

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