The moment a funky version of a track from Disney's The Jungle Book came booming over the PA system, it became clear that there was something off about Nathan Jenden's show. Less clear was the reason why models came two by two down the catwalk was unclear, unless Jenden had an ill-advised idea about animals and Noah's Ark - which, by the sheer volume of animal prints on show, could well have been the case.
Certain pieces, taken out of the context in which they were unveiled, did have some merit. Figure-hugging zebra print dresses with the ubiquitous pointy shoulders are certain to appeal to the young, party-loving twenty-something (make of that what you will). And a pinstripe wraparound skirt suit was pleasing in a nostalgic 90s way. But the collection lacked cohesion and the, quite literal, urban jungle that Jenden tried to create felt contrived and made for slightly uncomfortable viewing. The real stinkers of the show came in the form of what appeared to be dresses made from Quality Street wrappers and a strapless maxi dress with a lion's face painted on it. Not forgetting the black and gold billowing lurex gown with asymmetric puffball hem, of course.
Just as there's always at least one trend every season that brings designers together through some invisible osmotic process, there's always one label that is totally out of sync with everybody else. It's as if Jenden missed that meeting where everyone decides what they're going to do for the next season.
Now, perhaps it isn't the best idea to try and over-intellectualise clothes that just aren't intellectual, but it's hard to ignore the fact that Jenden was treading some pretty dodgy ground with his concept for Autumn/Winter 2010. It would be difficult, not to mention wrong, to try and second-guess Jenden's intentions for this collection, but some aspects were particularly hard to stomach. Statements such as "It was like church ladies in the jungle", suggest Jenden hadn't given enough thought to the way his show could potentially be received. Or indeed, to the clothes.