For all his interest in highfalutin arty-farty conceptualism, Emilio de la Morena is not an intellectual designer. And thank God for that. Take his S/S 2011 collection, packed with references to the slashed canvasses of Lucio Fontana and oppositions of day and night (apparently). Sounds like a recipe for some walking, talking installation piece? Wrong - de la Morena boiled it down to slashes and perforated eyelet details on little evening gowns, firmly gripping the thighs with canvas-like panels of fabric fluttering prettily at the hips. But that's not to denigrate this efforts: it takes some skills with shears and thread to attach panes of cloth to thighs and buttocks and not make a woman look like she's tugging a barge. De la Morena has a sure eye for a flattering fold and neat tailoring trick, and that shows in his roster of supporters: The City star Olivia Palermo wouldn't know a Fontana if you threw one at her, but she'll no doubt be sporting de la Morena's reinterpretations.
When it comes to those contemplations over day and night, de la Morena's approach was once again literal. This collection was willfully (perhaps woefully) focused around cocktail dressing. When skirts and jackets featured, it was merely as if de la Morena had spliced up his figure-hugging frocks into their component pieces, less separates, more separated. It made for a strong and neat catwalk statement in a marshmallow palette of sugary spearmint, coral and blue as tight as one of those very many little frocks - but did it really take us, or him, anywhere new? No. This felt like a coherent, cohesive and concise statement around his existing body-conscious signature eveningwear, a line drawn which will hopefully allow him to move on to pastures new next season. The most interesting exit this time was a buttery black leather skirt and icy mint back-buttoning blouse. It was restrained, it was sexy, and it would work before 6pm. That's where de la Morena should take us next time.