With the lurid pink branding of Barbie's fiftieth anniversary splashed about Danielle Scutt's Autumn/Winter show as sponsor, you'd be forgiven for thinking her brand of hard, aggressive power-dressing may have been mellowed by the adumbrated stereotypes of feminine fripperies. You'd be dead wrong. Scutt's vision has always been tough, and with the rest of fashion finally cottoning on to her ideals of razor-sharp, gilt-edged, Joan-Collins-in-The-Bitch glamour, the time was ripe for Scutt to really let rip. Her thoughts for winter evidently scrolled back a couple of decades, through leopard-lashed pop video vixens, courtroom attire in Dynasty, and mainly a long linger over late-eighties/early-nineties Thierry Mugler cyber-women, circa George Michael's 'Too Funky' promo. Again, this is an opportune moment for such thoughts: Mugler's vintage is doing a quick trade, the label's reeditions are selling out and the man himself has been drafted in by Beyonce to design stage costumes. Alas, sometimes even the best laid plans can go awry. There was something wrong at Scutt's show - too much retro, too much reference, not enough reinvention. Her tailoring, all nipped waists, exaggerated shoulders, cutworked contrast lapels and curvy peplums, wasn't just inspired by Mugler - it was Mugler. Or rather, it was when it was good. Some slipped closer to the second-string couture of Jean-Louis Scherrer, or the clodhopping Mugler pastiche of many a provincial B.A. grad. Coloured in the strong, saturated shades of a teenage boy's wet dream bedroom - bachelor-pad black-ash, white and searing blood-red - the effect was a brash clash that recalled exactly why so many have dubbed the eighties the decade that taste forgot. Scutt's hand with animal-prints, a speciality since her M.A., was far more assured. Merging multiple big-cat striations and colouring them in that three-tone palette, Scutt splashed them across stretch silks, scarred them with zips and embellished them with hefty tassels. Her animalistic catsuits were once again standouts, while her aggressively patchworked silk evening dresses beg for an outing on an early eighties Siouxie Sioux. A cocktail of questionable taste underpinned with a double-shot of irony has always been Scutt's draught of choice. This time, it seems, some of the ingredients just weren't that fresh.
Coloured in the strong, saturated shades of a teenage boy's wet dream bedroom, the effect was a brash clash that recalled exactly why so many have dubbed the eighties the decade that taste forgot.