After last season's softer look, this collection returned to construction; Ilincic's mood for deconstruction reared its head.
Remember Jacqueline de Ribes, dressed to excess eighties pop couture and Tom Wolfe's 'Social X-Rays' in ruffled, stiffened and fleshily padded cocktail frocks? Evidently Roksanda Ilincic does as she could have dedicated her Autumn/Winter collection to each and any one of them. This season, Roksanda loves a bit of ruff - frills, flounces and firm wings of fabric extended from shoulders, hems and sleeve heads up, off and out. They were a dramatic choice, and one that took Ilincic's deconstructed couture ethos in the right direction - namely, a cleaner, meaner and altogether sharper one. Gone were her unfinished, unravelling hems and exposed selvedges: in their place, lace overlays across the back of dresses, swathing shoulders and smothering the inside of those exaggerated jabots were a leitmotif, with sometimes just chantilly sheathing bare flesh. After last season's softer look, this collection returned to construction, with stiff, popped peplums, box-cut sleeves and ovoid panniers abstracting away from the body. Eighties couture again came to the fore in a series of metallic matelassé crocodile brocades (yes, seriously), crystal-encrusted Krystle Carrington shoulders on a strictly cut power-suit, and a few sherbet-satin evening dresses. But here Ilincic's mood for deconstruction reared its head, pulling these simple column-dresses off-kilter with misplaced darts, asymmetrical necklines and a wayward lace-smothered shoulderpad or two. These were intriguing subversions, as if a provincial dressmaker had cack-handedly copied an haute couture original and got it dreadfully wrong. It's difficult to interpret that as a compliment, but it is intended as such, and it's that wry eye that keeps Ilincic's increasingly refined work from becoming too saccharine.