A great deal is expected of Holly Fulton, even at this relatively early stage in her career, because the other major print players in London have soared high, and fast. Fulton has all the elements you need: an instantly recognisable signature style, a slot on the fashion week schedule, and talent.
That talent, however, seems to be blinkered onto the prints themselves. Fulton's graphics are simple to grasp, vaguely Deco, intricately worked, engineered to the garments they adorn. It's the garments themselves that raise the first issue: mainly that its not enough for a designer to be five seasons into her solo career and still produce clothes that often look ungainly and unflattering. More than that, though, it was the lack of ambition in the garments that raised question-marks. It's okay for a design to be unflattering and ungainly if you feel a designer is maturing from it, expanding their reach and breadth. Sometimes, ugly can be a good thing. It isn't with Fulton.
Bar a few carwash hems, cut-out criss-cross bodice summer-dresses and a couple of dodgy satin frocks suspended from metallic chokers around the neck (yes, she went there), Fulton's Autumn/Winter 2012 was relatively safe. Nothing looked too clangingly cheap or ill-fitting, and the prints were poppy, peppy and fun, brilliant cerise and electric blue tropical greenhouses splashed across Cardin-meets Garconne shifts, collarless cardigan jackets and knee-length coats. However, that lack of ambition was definitely there. The prints even began to look a bit 'been there, bought that'. Surely once you have one kooky, full-on Fulton frock, you don't need another. And with her print peers pushing the boundaries of their talent in all directions, Fulton's seeming complacency is making her look like the runt of the litter.