Mary Katrantzou explained her entire collection with a Coco Chanel quote: 'A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future'.
A cash-generating spin-off for most designer brands, perfume rarely features on high fashion's centre-stage (bar an occasional sycophantic editorial credit pandering to the bank-rolling big-buck advertisers in some US publications). But for her fashion week debut, Mary Katrantzou explained her entire collection with a Coco Chanel quote: 'A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future'. Backstage, Katrantzou described her influences as 'the refractive quality of my mother's glass perfume bottles', but the resulting collection had no hint of nostalgia. The first print, featured on the invite (a sneaky bit of double-take attention grabbing), was fliched from an old bottle of Shalimar, and established Katrantzou's direction this season: strong, graphic and slightly deco. We also saw some brilliant shots of opalescent, liquified colour in jewel-tones of caramel, lingonberry and aquamarine - indeed, a vertiable rainbow of perfume hues distorted by ornate bottles and rendered in Katrantzou's Koonsian hyperreal style. Katrantzou sensibly stuck to the placement prints that marked out her graduation show, but changed shape slightly, a strange move, given that the single silhouette used for her M.A. show - close-necked, firm-shouldered and above-the-knee - is fast emerging as next season's power-dressing fave. Her attempts at A-line shapes were less proficient and ill-suited to the strident prints. Like Fast, Katrantzou has been quickly-promoted to the official London Fashion Week schedule, and for the most part she deserved it - her final exit, Jourdan Dunn in a futuristic floor-length column of black suede hung with a battallion of heavy brass neck-gear, was a blinder. At the same time, the collection felt as if it riffed too much on a single idea, explored to the extent of exhaustion. It will be interesting to see where she takes us next.