Roksanda Ilincic used to be the grown-up one amongst London's snotty-nosed designer kids, offering her own take on home-grown couture while the others played with fluoro paint and nineties bumbags. But now the kids have grown up and are setting not only the catwalks alight but the department store tills ringing, where is Ilincic's place in the increasingly refined landscape of young British fashion today?
That seems to be the question Ilincic has been tackling for three seasons now, each with varying degrees of success. The next natural step is dotage - or retirement. As the latter isn't an option, Ilincic sometimes comes closer to the former than you'd really like to see. It was there in her Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, veering into matriarch territory with a few too many long and lumpen skirts. It was rather heavy on the fur too, as tippets, jackets and trims - she even cut a couple of those mid-calf skirts from astrakhan, edging them in thick tubes of fox for good measure.
There's an admirable honesty in that - the kind of women who can afford this Ilincic fayre are no spring chickens (it's difficult to plough your way through the half-dozen million-dollar divorce settlements you'd need before you hit your mid-fifties). The luxe levels went up to something akin to Oscar de la Renta at the collection's more polished moments, such as a blanket-cum-cape of karakul lamb edged in cognac fox and thrown over a cashmere sweater and tweed trousers. But the wide-shouldered, felted wool suiting felt clumsy and stuffy, embroidered satin looked heavy, and hammered silk columns with a nip and tuck at the waist of shoulder half-resembled a length of artlessly plucked silk simply thrown across the models' bodies. Ilincic used to make her mark by traversing the intersection of the raw and the refined, but today it seem mostly as if the lumpy met the frumpy.