Henry Holland is a man with a plan. From a few in-joke t-shirts and a bit of punny lingus picked up at Smash Hits magazine he has built a stable business, shored up with a roster of licensees and sponsors to rival the king of fash-cash, Pierre Cardin. This is because, unlike his experimental and innovative London counterparts, Holland is unlikely to rock the boat. He has a look - fun, upbeat, technicolored and above all simplistic -and doggedly delivers season after season. This collection returned to Holland's love of Axl Rose and Stephanie Seymour, namely that November Rain wedding scene, and 'stomping the divots' with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Casual prostitution and groupies are hardly the usual fayre for light-hearted fashions, but Holland glibly siphoned off the aesthetic 'best' of both. The show opened with logo-print two-toned suits and simple colour-block knitwear that will easily translate to the mass-market - indeed, could his 'H!' range for British retailer Debenhams be that much different? His palette of acid green, orange, lipstick cerise and violet certainly looked high-street, likewise some of the dodgier construction values on a few outfits - although whether leather short-shorts or transparent lace shifts in those juicy-fruit shades would ever shift in store is another thing. Credit where credit's due, the denims were terrific - a collaboration with Levi's, Holland sliced out panels in classic biker jackets and fierce dungaree dresses and buckled them back up with thick denim straps and gold hardware. There were distinct shades of Gianni Versace's sanitised hooker chic in these combos, but if others are channeling early nineties Atelier Versace in their suctioned shapes, thigh-high hemlines and pastel palettes, this was Holland reviving the Jeans Couture of his youth, and it looked terrific. Likewise Katie Hillier's gilt safety-pin jewellery, a tongue-in-cheek nod to Elizabeth Hurley. Best in show was a blatant homage to Alaïa in denim bustier over lace bodystocking - a groupie cliché, yes, but one that still has considerable pizzazz and possibly a life outside of House of Holland's catwalk panto.
There were distinct shades of Gianni Versace's sanitised hooker chic in these combos.