Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Jonathan Saunders

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The pop architect Robert Venturi once said, “Less is a bore,” and Jonathan Saunders’s latest collection was a no-holds barred homage to living an amplified life in optimistic technicolor.

Saunders has recently secured investment in his brand, and although most of this collection must have been designed before the cash injection had landed, this was a case of art imitating life; if “life” is sweet and “art” is unfettered joy, that is.

His latest was a complete departure from his last collection. The spring/summer 2015 offering was introspective, conceptual even, and yes, Saunders could be critiqued for inconsistency from one season to the next, but he isn’t interested in repetition and his true talent lies within his ability to shape-shift. Saunders is a generous designer. His collections are offered up with an open vulnerability. If his designs had a catch phrase it would be, “Take me as you find me”, and as such this collection was unmistakably him.

There was that trademark, tense duality between the formalist and the fetishist; the dresses with bracelet sleeves and high-funnel necklines had a prim restraint which was twisted with lace-up, over-the-knee kinky boots. Colour wise this was an ode to outré. The op-art prints were varied and clashing, riffing on a modish Sixties swish. Saunders had been inspired by the artists which he referenced at the beginning of his career: the pop art of Allen Jones and Bridget Reily.

The sound track to the show was George Michael’s Careless Whisper. “I love that song, it makes me happy,” he said backstage. “I went back to thinking about why we do what we do, why I design, and look at my face,” he said, backstage. “I’m happy, that’s what this collection is about. Optimism.”

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Hugo Boss

Polished, industrial, sharp and serious – one can’t help but think that ever since Jason Wu took on the helm of Hugo Boss this time last year that the aesthetic has filtered out onto his own eponymous line. As we saw at the start of the week, his namesake label was less full of the flounce and frou that it once was. And Boss is about a certain precision, a heritage luxury brand. That said, among the silhouettes today there was a renewed softness – rounder shoulders, a play on proportion and panels for lithe dresses and leg-of-mutton sleeves.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Giorgio Armani

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In Milan, Giorgio Armani introduced us to a new skirt/trouser hybrid happening. Call it the Skouser, quite simply a wrap-around skirt layered over a pair of slim-fitting trousers, except it wasn’t layered, it was entirely made up of one piece, with the front hemline of the skirt actually morphing into the trouser leg. It was a new one on us, and quite possibly the world.

There were plenty of these Skousers, in all colours – from pastels to black – and they were partnered with everything from furry jackets, to feminine fluttery blouses, and softest funnel-neck flared sleeved sweaters, one, in pretty sea foam proving that they’re nothing if not versatile. Tuxedo trousers and a black velvet dinner suit were other highlights.

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Elsewhere for glittering nights, Armani’s clientele will be looking to one of those boxy organza evening jackets decorated in a colourful mosaic of sequins, and for more formal events, the designer rounded off the collection with a finale of prom dresses boasting fanned boned bustiers, grounded in black patent Chelsea boots for contemporary edge. What to wear over?

Armani suggests a silk shawl streaming in shaggy wool fringing, or, like the last exit here today, a painterly watercolour fur coat.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Saint Laurent

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That was surely the thinking from Saint Laurent front man Hedi Slimane this season, now in his third year at the helm of the house. With this collection, which proceeded to be another dollop of everything that we have come to expect from his hand, the designer continued in his pursuit of outfitting rock chicks the world over (world domination is no exaggeration).

His runway was akin to the O2 stadium; well, sort of, in that it looked like a stage that a grimy band might step out on at any given moment, bad vocals and all. Except they didn’t. Blinding stadium lights switched on and the runway was elevated up to music festival heights (which added a bitter taste of self-importance, the audience now serving as diehard fans, looking up in adoration). There were tulle prom dresses worn with mannish tweed blazers or leather jackets and laddered fishnet tights; the super skinny ‘Le Smoking’ complete with braces, twinkling dishevelled party dresses, fur coats (the sort that you might hope to find on a good day at Camden market) leopard capes, and a lot of micro mini leather skirts, everything atop spiky boots. No surprises.

What these mean in the grand scheme of things? While this looks like everything we have ever seen before, and his critics are left wondering how – and perhaps more pertinently, when – he’s going to move things along, Slimane is doing something right: sales at Saint Laurent are rocketing. Also on the plus side: everything you have ever bought here since his arrival is still relevant, and at these price tags, that’s no bad thing.

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