by Alexander Fury .

Karla Otto Rocks Out

Emilio Pucci
A wardrobe staple
Riccardo Tisci wears his heart on his sleeve

Being stuck between a rock and a hard place doesn't seem quite so bad when you're at Karla Otto - particularly when the 'rock' is an Emilio Pucci quartz-crusted clutch and the 'hard place' is the tough, tundra-ready carapace of Marni's winter tweeds.

Representing talents as diverse as Givenchy, Nike and Hussein Chalayan, it's unusual to see such defined themes running through the collections. This season, there was something of a Flintstones feel, with sliced and diced minerals decorating everything from evening bags to necklaces to printed shirt-dresses. Puccis's clutches, belts and necklaces decorated with great splinters of rock-crsytal were stunning statements pieces, while Marni's wood-hewn heels were hefty, hulky and immediately covetable. Riccardo Tisci's severe Catholic wool coats embroidered with jet-studded soutache ex-votto hearts were examples of typically faultless Givenchy tailoring best examined one-on-one, likewise the rocky textures of Hussein Chalayan's evolution-inspired show which were even more stunning close-up. Despite the extreme theme, Chalayan's print separates (and pretty much whole 'Chalayan' line) demonstrated his skill at distilling his concept into have-to-have-it pieces - hopefully to be harnessed to the hilt in his new collaboration with Puma.

With this focus on heavy-duty action, Viktor & Rolf's staple-gunned evening frocks and cobweb knits lead the way. This season, V&R said 'NO' to sewing - in theory at least - but luckily not to their usual beautiful finish, even when studded with half of Ryman's finest stock. Suddently, a desk job seems oddly appealing for Autumn/Winter 2008...