What appeals to me about Tocca is that for over ten years, they have managed to keep an air of mystery around the brand, as though the lush fabrics, intricate detailing and whimsical prints were hand picked by gentle fairies for only the daintiest girly girls with banana curls and bows.

Taking a cue from the French Provencal countryside during the 1970s and 1980s, the Tocca Holiday/Resort/Spring Preview 2008 Ready to Wear Collection pays homage to an era of old glamour and understated sophistication not seen since those glorious nights on the French Riviera.

Chairman and Creative Director Edoardo Mantelli – one of the elusive men behind Tocca – indicated that he and his team enjoyed collaborating on the many new designs utilizing cotton, precious silk, poplin, double gauze and chiffon fabrics, and that his favorite piece is a cream silk dress with multicolored polka dots from the Spring Preview, which will be in stores next January.

I searched for a few exceptional words to convey what Tocca does to my senses and to describe how it feels to see and touch such rich wardrobe desserts. When I looked up ornate in the thesaurus, I found that the synonyms sit well with so many aspects of Tocca, yet I wouldn’t quite use the word ornate to describe the collection. The words that immediately to come to mind – dreamy, elaborate, adorned, feminine, and lacy – work much better.

Tocca Holiday had some standout pieces amidst the four black cocktail dresses – a silk, sleeveless chemise in three colors – golden camel, dusty blue and light pink. If you are really feeling festive, slip into a strapless option which gathers gracefully below the neck and has a long, draping bow in the middle. If flattering patterns are more your style, choose between fashion fuchsia/white and black/white sleeveless party dresses.

Resort was quite a departure from past frilly and flowery styles. Preppy pale blues and yellows were chosen for casual beach dresses of striped classic ticking complete with a tie around the waist. Navy shorts tied at the knee, and a piercing teal was used to create delicate eyelet pieces as well as comfy yet flattering jersey tops. There were still some flowery prairie dresses, but I was focused on a yellow silk dress prominently displayed on its own. The low neckline and empire waist made this the perfect summer event dress.

Polka dots have been peeking out in the voile designs in the past few seasons, and the pieces featured today in the Spring Preview were crisp and mature, as opposed to this years which were more playful. Luckily, the hems have risen on a number of the dresses and the bows and ties are still free flowing.

Although I did spot a few items that could be worn to the office – a cascading mauve silk shirt paired with trousers a shade lighter from the Spring Preview being my favorite – as we have come to expect from Tocca, each piece is interchangeable for a downtown dinner, drinks at a hotel bar, or an uptown charity event.

-Kerri Mullon



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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