Emilio de la Morena sought to 'expand' his label this season. Expansion is something he should consider - expanding the range of his product for certain, but also expanding the seam allowances on his tiny, tambourine-taut dresses and even dropping their thigh-high hemlines.
However, De la Morena's expansion for Spring/Summer 2012 was offering daywear, apparently. It was difficult to pinpoint exactly what was intended for day - perhaps the sinuous knitted dresses in turquoise and lemon with gauzy organza circle skirts belling around the hips like re-imaginings of fifties sweater girls. They were the only things that covered more than they revealed, albeit covering cling-film tight. Otherwise, de la Morena's was a day that began at the cocktail hour, his woman outfitted in a short strapless dress jigsawed together from two dozen scraps of fabric. Sometimes a couple of curtains of silk crepe fluttered prettily at the hips - but de la Morena's heart wasn't in dropping anything below mid-thigh. You could have it in crepe, or chiffon, maybe with an origami-folded belt like a swell of hydrangeas at the waist.
The organic forms throughout were engineered around women's curves, emphasising bust and hip, slit up the thigh to fall away from bared flesh. Sensuality - by rote, but it still had a power. Occasionally dresses came splattered with a flattering art-house print - psychedelic rainbow patterns derived from Michael Lucero's clay pieces. Look them up - but fret not, their sinuous forms were chopped up and pieced prettily together to flatter female curves.
That was both the strength of this collection, and its weakness. De la Morena can cut a great dress. He's demonstrated that season after season. But that's dressmaking, not fashion design. This season, it didn't feel as if de la Morena pushed his talent anywhere new or exciting.