This sophomore effort was, for many, the litmus test: is Lourenço one to watch, or just a one-hit wonder?
Pedro Lourenço is something of a boy wonder, precociously presenting his first collection last season aged just nineteen to a thrilled Parisian fashion press. Of course, he had help - parents ensconced in the São Paolo fashion elite, with manufacturing means to boot - but he wouldn't have got anywhere without talent.
This sophomore effort was, for many, the litmus test: is Lourenço one to watch, or just a one-hit wonder? For this second collection, he played his cards close to his chest, expanding and developing ideas originally proposed last season rather than taking us on a journey to new frontiers. It didn't have quite the wow factor of his debut, but it was still quite something to see, with garments spliced open with nude tulle and net with shiny, firm leathers and thick metallic zips. There was a feeling of sixties sci-fi - a bubbling undercurrent in many collections - with firm pleats, stark lines and lots and lots of white.
Lourenço seemed to be forging ahead with his own path, whilst keeping a sly eye on what everyone else was doing. That is, of course, of utmost impotence for any designer, and Lourenço seemed to get the balance right. He experimented with the longer skirts everyone seems obsessed with, his falling from an empire-line bodice thickly padded to resemble something between a chocolate bar and an intergalactic space-ship. Some were spliced with horizontal bands of leather, alternating stripes of opacity and transparency, while others were fleshed with what appeared to be a three-dimensional point d'esprit on wide net, like pills carefully arranged over tulle. All the fabrics had this tactile quality, whether in the sculpted, Le Corbusier pleats in the back of a jacket, or the rigid curves of Lourenço's coats, cut like cocoons at the back but sliced and diced into bolero-length biker coats at the front, with a hard, shiny finish like an insect's shell.
Lourenço's work has already been compared with that of Nicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga - the two seem to share twin futurist obsessions, and a drive to push fabric technology to the very limit. This time, Lourenço experimented with some colour-blocking in pistachio, red and royal blue that felt, at times, a little too close to what Ghesquiere did a year ago, especially when paired with those Courrèges-esque chopped-off bootcuts. It wasn't copying by any means, but the echo was unfavourable. Luckily, that was the exception - general, this show demonstrated Lourenço's burgeoning talent, thrust onto a world stage early, but evidently not too early. It'll be interesting to see where he goes next.