Streamlined shapes given a coat of fresh paint, seemed to be the theme of the London Collections. Very dull I know, but I'm guessing it reflects the tentative recovery of the economy. British designers are no longer the wild experimental ones, and did not make big statements. It's the flattening effect of a fashion business gone global (how I hate the concept). Readily understandable clothes were presented, fusing minimalist designs (the 1990s Minimalism really seems to be a theme this season) with bold prints, vivid colour and embellishment.
Paul Smith: It’s frankly a relief to see a collection that is based on solid menswear tailoring after reviewing so many collections where slip dresses and lingerie lace gowns prevailed. Sir Paul Smith focused on what he does best, the refined tailoring that is the heart of his men’s collections. The pantsuits, and shirts (ties included), seemed entirely borrowed from a man’s wardrobe, and the strictness of this was a welcome respite. The designer punctuated the show with a refreshing salad palette, and florals, dots, and stripes. Colour and print is his usual method of adding whimsy and a certain lightness to his mens collections and it works just as well here.
Burberry Prorsum: The classic motorcycle jacket was the main motif of this simplistic collection by Christopher Bailey. It seemed mechanical, devoid of emotion. And at 50 looks, this was the motorcycle jacket on steroids. This modern runway staple was but a framework on which to hang all the clunky snaps, zips, padding, studs, straps, buckles and all their various combinations, in jackets ranging from the requisite buttery soft black leather to neon python, house khaki, high-shine metallics, wild cat spots, etc. All this decorative excess was kept brisk and contemporary with a shrunken-to-the-body silhouette so strict that it would squeeze anyone breathless. Sleeves were noticeably narrow and legs were clad in leather tights. Every darkly dangerous look was leavened with bolts of bright neon colour – this looks sporty. Metallic python strips, gold leather, silver finishes all added to a Versace moment.
The clothes felt energetic and confident, if heartless, and not actually breaking new ground: Mr Bailey has shown those familiar ruffled dresses worn under sturdy outerwear many times over.The complete, unabridged review appears in today's Business Times.