by Alexander Fury .

Roksanda Ilincic

One of her models may have taken a tumble in her tricky bronze platform sandals - frankly, in a season of beyond super-elevated heels, it was only a matter of time - but this was the only stumble in Roksanda Ilincic's refined S/S 2009 show. This collection was seemingly inspired by brittle pre-war bridal couture shows - a rather specific speculation I admit, but how else to account for the Miss Havisham-esque tulle veiling draping and training evening dresses and Illincic's consistent used of dusty, faded corsages to decorate her silken gowns? That was the bridal element; the pre-war part came from her subtle, soft use of slippery satins in deftly draped and swathed gowns slithering against the figure. Ilincic has played with similar shapes, but this collection was deft, light and lovely as the ostrich-feathers pepping up the bodice of a delicate couple of organza and tulle frocks. The use of fabric and delicate decoration were reminiscent of the work of Madeline Vionnet and Jeanne Lanvin - important, perhaps, that both were women, and similarly Ilincic understands how women wish to dress when it comes to the evening. Pastels have smothered the spring collections en masse, but Illincic used less conventional tonal variations to give her looks an edge: taupe, mushroom, a bruised beige, a sickly lilac combined with stronger mauves and rich purple in a palette that whispered of femininity without being sickly sweet. Similarly, to contrast the precision of her couture inspiration, Ilincic continued to play with her methods of deconstruction -occasionally, on these more delicate fabrics, the wafting loose threads begged for a pair of shears, but that is truly splitting hairs. This collection was quite simply, quite thoroughly and quite unashamedly lovely, in a way that so few designers are willing to be but in a way so many women wish they were.

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