Now is certainly not the time for anything half-hearted, unsure or lukewarm - luxury must be a must-have.
Being the last show in one of the more hectic days of Paris Fashion Week didn't do Veronique Branquinho any favours. After scanning through legions of disparate collections and attempting to unify them, by the evening slot, one had simply run out of synonyms to describe what she showed. This may be good news for Branquinho, as it means she is nailing the feeling picked up by other designers in Paris: a spare, sleek, simple luxury relying on unusual furs and exotic trims, plays on textures and textiles, and a neutral, quiet palette of black, greys and shades of off-white. Branquinho made elements of Autumn/Winter's widespread trends her own: thus we had strong shoulders popping up in a tuxedo-cum-jumpsuit, tufted Tuscan and Mongolian lamb frothing from seams, and the slightly subverted, perverted luxury of fur prints on down puffer coats. Not everything worked, for example her folky cable-knits and bias-cut, diamond-pieced silks, both of which seemed out of touch with what women would really want to wear, ditto a trite all-white and overlong eveningwear section to the tune of 'Knights in White Satin' (I kid you not). Her collaboration with little-known Belgian leather-goods company Delvaux yielded some interesting, minimal bags suspended from hand or slung from shoulder in glossy black or beige lambskin, but as with so much in this collection, they seemed somewhat old hat. That was the worrying part. Now is certainly not the time for anything half-hearted, unsure or lukewarm - luxury must be a must-have. With that in mind, only two pieces in this collection really made the grade, although they were blinders: a pair of coats in green-grey tweed, exquisitely cut, diagonally darted and welt-seamed with front yolk and sleeves rendered in plush, knuckle-deep fronds of Mongolian lamb. Please sir, can we have some more?