Excessive viewing of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in 'The Tudors' while holed up in a Milan hotel room. That, according to Louise Goldin, was all it took to set her off into the history books for the first time for S/S 2010 - but perhaps there were other forces at work. A difficult year both worldwide and for the designer herself (who only got the financial go-ahead for her show a month prior), a retreat into an idealised, Elysian past is just what the doctor ordered. Of course, a designer of Goldin's stature and endless innovation would never be content to rest on her historic laurels. Goldin instead jumped ahead a century or so from Holbein shapes to the Versailles court - Louise does Louis, if you pardon the pun. The Sun King Louis XIV's influence could be seen in the tanned complexions and blonde-streaked hair, and a similarly sunny outlook for the clothing - shimmering in delicate Rococo shades of pale bleu de Roi, Rose de Pompadour and sherbet lemon, trimmed with Chantilly lace and balanced on stud and crystal-encrusted court shoes. This Baroque exuberance, however, was fused with Goldin's trademark sci-fi futurism. Witness arabesques of gilt that seemed to have been pixellated, and a glittering pair of leggings encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Cone breasts - either as suspension point for Goldin's accomplished jumpsuits and little knit dresses, or jutting underneath intarsia-knit sweaters - kept the look sharp, sleek and sweet rather than saccharine, likewise aggressive sliced fins and a wicked twist of asymmetry. Relentlessly inquisitive and experimental as always, Goldin's talent once again pushed her technique to the very limit: eighteenth century brocatelles were reinvented as knitted jacquards, pleated court mantuas re-interpreted as complex sunray pin-tucks, and the stays and furbellows of the seventeen hundreds reworked and yanked into the far-future. Imagine Versailles on Venus - via Versace, if you look at that crystal chainmail and unapologetic extravagance. If that mix makes little sense in print, it is my error and not Goldin's. This collection managed to fuse next season's emergent feeling for decorated, decorous femininity with something harder, tougher and empowering, qualities Goldin has always brought to her work. The root was in history, and in reference upon layered and reworked reference, but Goldin's unique reinterpretations - fresh, starling and incredibly exciting - was quite unlike anything we've ever seen before.
This season's Baroque exuberance was fused with Goldin's trademark sci-fi futurism.