The clothes had airs of Balenciaga, Preen and Helmut Lang, but none of the excitement of the new we have come to demand of London
After working off-schedule - and often under the radar - for many years, Emilio De La Morena is a name gaining recognition. His brief, body-conscious dresses in primary brights have sold out of Browns for winter, French Vogue's editrix Carine Roitfeld has ordered pieces, and this season marked his first on-schedule outing at London Fashion Week. Understandably, with everything going right, De La Morena didn't want to rock the boat for S/S 2010. The work of Annette Messager was ostensible inspiration behind the collection: less inspiration than excuse to trick out those bestselling bodycon frocks with slightly softer folds, drapes and tucks of fabric. The collection revolved around taut, short dresses - only one skirt grazed the knees, and even trousers came out legging-tight. Double-peplums were layered over skirts in georgette, while chiffon fluttered behind short asymmetric dresses fluttering with fluted chiffon hems and dotted with marbling to resemble sea creatures. Whether women are willing to look like jellyfish - even super-short slipstreamed chiffon ones - is perhaps a rhetorical question (one both posed and answered in the nineties by Thierry Mugler moreover). Regardless of this hitch, the niggles and bumps in De La Morena's aesthetic have by and large been ironed out - this polished collection could easily have sat on a New York or Paris catwalk. Perhaps that was part of the problem - the clothes had airs of Balenciaga, Preen and Helmut Lang in their collages of pleats, frills and ribbed chiffon, but none of the excitement of the new we have come to demand of London. They weren't bad a second time around - indeed the collection was accomplished, and should secure De La Morena's place on schedule for next season - but overall, you were left inexplicably wanting more from this reserved and ultimately restricted offering.