As with so many other designers in London, Emilio de la Morena is searching for a way out of that established but rather tired rut of the short sharp frock of body-con. Fashion has moved on, and de la Morena reasoned it was time he did too.
A change is always welcome: this season, de la Morena looked at Victoriana for his silhouettes, adding a touch of restriction to his body-cleaving shapes. As with so many other collections, de la Morena definitively dropped his hemlines below the knee, sometimes inserting sheer panels or underskirts into existing long-line frocks, like petticoats peeping below the hem. Cages of embroidery spiralled across garments, catching the breasts in a cat's cradle thread or scrolling around the figure, a decorative motif echoed in panels of print like criss-crossing corset laces - a few of those dangled from the shoulders and collars of organza overdresses, part practical fastening part decoration. More of that Victorian feel was evident in lurex-dotted tailoring, fastening high on the torso and sliced out around the body.
Oddly, given the tight contours of his lines, de la Morena's clothes have never seemed particularly binding. This season, however, there was a palpable air of constriction, as if the entire body had been trussed up in a giant long-line girdle. It was slightly stifling for the viewer, too, revolving around a handful of lingerie colours (red, black and a sweet pale pink) and stripped-back decorative effects. It was all very chic, and de la Morena's attenuation looked terribly sophisticated, but these dresses looked far too old, staid even, for a man who has become a go-to name for a racy party frock. De la Morena even referred to the collections 'sombre tone', something that could never be said about his creations before - despite the high art inspirations he often seizes upon, de la Morena has never had problems synthesising those introvert thees into resolutely extrovert va-voom dressing In contrast, while this show gained in skirt-length, it lacked in energy.=