SHOW OF THE WEEK
So loud was the buzz surrounding Christopher Kane's neon-fuelled debut last season that there was a chance his second outing would fall flat. But the unofficial Versace protege had other ideas. Leather was favoured to create fit-and-flare ice-skating-style dresses, with ammunition-belt cuffs and sculptured waves highlighting womanly curves. Velvet offered a more sumptuous approach to Kane's dominatrix look, suggesting a more feminine medieval maiden. And oversized crystals brought new meaning to embellishment and featured warrior-like on belts or glitzy necklines.
Giles Deacon's show paid homage to the natural world and the evolution of man. Chic cave girls in slender suede dresses with eyelet detailing took a turn on the catwalk, before chunky oversized knitwear in earthy tones referenced medieval serfs. As night fell, Deacon presented couture-like cocktail dresses sculpted from porcupine quills and feathers.
Paul Smith took a more directional route for autumn 07, underpinned by archive English references. Tailoring excelled with wool, tweed and glen checks on tuxedo-style evening-wear. Dropped-waist dresses took inspiration from the 1920s, while a pleated skirt with a figure-hugging fuchsia knit fused the coquettish with a 1980s touch.
In a triumph of wearable feminine design, Betty Jackson underlined the reasons behind her success. Sleek organza skirts and puckered db coats were followed by scallop-edged dresses and jaunty carrot-shaped trousers. The palette was sophisticated, with chalk, chocolate and tan shades punctuating black.
An eagerly anticipated collection let down by teddy boy styling, Nathan Jenden's catwalk was rooted in the teen excess of 1950s prom queens and 1980s cocktail parties. Show highlights included a pink waisted dress, a wet-look washed silk gazar party dress and a strapless patent leather sequinned number.
MARC BY MARC JACOBS
Marc Jacobs' defiantly commercial offer for his Marc by Marc Jacobs line sat girlish smock dresses alongside warm woollen layers of plaid coats and slouchy trousers. Overall, the flavour of the offer was preppy individualism, while chunky ribbed tights and scarves harked back to Jacobs' grunge roots.
Aerodynamic and stream-lined, Jonathan Saunders' collection veered away from his signature prints into graduated colours that were bled into one another. Canary yellow merged with goldfish orange on tabard-like dresses and swirled puffball skirts, while a pared down silhouette dominated the collection.
Knitwear designer Louise Goldin excelled with her technically brilliant body-conscious designs. Black and silver or red Lurex mini dresses in geometric intarsias were key, as were trims and panels that followed the body's contours. There was also plenty of fine-gauge layering over long-line sheaths.
Celebrating the brand's outerwear heritage, Aquascutum designers Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz showed a coat-heavy collection. Embossing was used on quilted styles, regimental looks played a part and gauzy organza brought glamour to daywear. Dresses and skirts in puckered tulip shapes and high-waisted styles were also on the agenda.
BASSO & BROOKE
Famous for their prints and use of colour, this season Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke introduced a toned down, commercial aesthetic. Swirling Monet-style prints featured on shift dresses and embossed quilted coats. The same geometric, pixellated prints were used on short puffball dresses.
From spacemen and magic eye patterns to circuit-board-style details, Manish Arora's colourful embroidery was both robotic and extra-terrestrial. While drama still played a big part in the form of rigid capes, Arora's move towards a neater, more wearable silhouette was marked.