Joanna Sykes is a very talented designer who has never had the best luck finding the right house to show off her skills. Her last gig was over at Aquascutum, who's much publicised fall into administration eclipsed the streamlined skill and perfect simplicity of Skyes' last few collections.
Both at Aquascutum, and when designing for her own label, Sykes perfected the art of making sellable, wearable clothing that suits the practicalities of everyday living but maintains a clear luxury edge. Nicole Farhi were wise to snap her up.
Clearly having learnt from the rapid nature of Aquascutum's demise - she was there just two short years before the company's near collapse (it was saved at the last minute by Hong Kong-based YGM Trading) - Sykes isn't wasting any time honing her vision and slowly building her following. Instead, she proved her worth straight away with an incredibly covetable, natural collection, which was full of beautiful, relevant investment pieces.
Timelessness and craft are key to her vision and, having moved manufacture of key products back to Italy, Sykes was keen to show of her slick suiting and outerwear. The palette was kept minimal to allow textures and finishes do the talking. While tailoring was relaxed and comfortable - crafted in Nicole Farhi's signature jersey - shirting was more playful and came in adventurous prints and stripes. Knitwear was particularly strong. It came in variety of forms, from giant intarsia tweed to rib, cable and waffle - each piece more sumptuous than the next. In a season that's been dominated by excellent jumpers it's tough to make a real splash, but these really stood out.
It takes a designer with a dab hand to debut with such a strong vision while also staying so completely true to a house's codes. Sykes may be a subtle, non-shouty designer, but she's not to be overlooked. This collection was a buyer's dream and it's sure to put Nicole Farhi firmly at the centre of the London menswear map.