With a backdrop of logo-ed amplifiers piled high and a spraypaint stencil of the guitar-strumming designer's likeness on the invite, you could be forgiven for thinking that Karl Lagerfeld was turning to 'le rock' for his S/S 2010 inspiration. This is the man, after all, with a thousand ipods (or several dozen at least). However, for anyone expecting a leather-and-blue jeans ode to groupie style, you'll be sorely disappointed. Granted, there were a few touches of literalism - check the flying-V guitar reinvented as a necklace charm, and the same motif flattered into two-dimensions and wound around wrists and waists as abstract jewellery. But overall, if Karl decided to pump up the volume with this show, it was the clothing's volume: short, chunky shorts and bell-shaped skirts stood proud from the body, their fullness falling to the front. Crisp creases outlined three-quarter length sleeves on sharp little jackets and shirts with strong, squared shoulderlines, while the cut throughout was short, sharp and stacatto, recalling the sixties futurism of Cardin and Courreges. Of course, this kind of clean-living has always been Lagerfeld's bag, and, for the past decade, his own favourite look. Perhaps that's why this own-label showing felt especially Lagerfeld - certainly, for the first time in a long while, this collection included Karl's own witty self-reference, with girls wearing his ubiquitous high collars with organza neckties, teamed beaded shirts and those high-waisted, voluminous shorts. As a graphic exercise, it was an antidote to the overload of feminine frippery we've seen on so many other catwalks, with firm tailoring and spare decoration taking centre-stage. Best was the almost monastic simplicity of a navy playsuit, falling straight from shoulders to cuffed shorts at upper-thigh like a choirboy's cassock, with a neat white collar to match. Even when Lagerfeld did femininity, it was with Draconian control - witness the tautly-compressed ruffles on a couple of crystal organza evening tops, and the stand-out metallic silver arabesques, like staves, treble clefs and quavers, that formed serpentine swirls over the bodices of his crepe finale dresses. Despite the curlicues, with their brief lines and leather-outlined seams these looked like couture curiasses for a postmodern warrior-woman.
For anyone expecting a leather-and-blue jeans ode to groupie style, you'll be sorely disappointed.