House of Holland is nothing if not the quintessential British brand. It started life with Sun-worthy word plays, happy, snappy bits of punny lingus splashed across staple t-shirting. It was about cracking a smile, not making you think. That's what Henry Holland is good at.
Since his earliest collections of oversized t-shirts and bovver boots, Holland has been at his best when examining those British roots. Remember his kilts? Remember last season's Bingo biddies, and his ragga girls - more east end than West Side, Ridley Road rather than Rodeo Drive? For spring, Mr Holland decided to examine another British institution - punk. But Holland's was picture-postcard punk, in sugary Love Heart pastel shades of parma violet, peach and spearmint. No sharp edges, no hidden depth.
It felt sharp, neat and amusing - if superficial. Leopard was blown-up until it almost resembled florals, multicoloured python was padlocked around the waist, wrist and necks, and the House of Holland tartan was a welcome revival in skinny trousers, skinhead Crombies and pleated kilts. Holland even managed to make latex bras look sickly rather than sweet in those saccharine pastels.
From oversized leopard-spots to lurex string-vests, Holland's punk was thoroughly sanitised, stripped of all ideological weight. Then again, punk stopped being an anti-establishment movement two decades ago when Gianni Versace cobbled five-figure evening-dresses together with Medusa-studded safety-pins. Style over substance. It was Via Gesu rather than the King's Road that Holland looked to - SEX and Seditionaries are distant memories to him, but Henry evidently remembers the Supermodels, George Michael's 'Too Funky' and Liz Hurley in that dress. It was playtime punk rather than punk and disorderly we were dealt today. But Henry Holland is never going to rock the establishment. Indeed, with wearable, saleable and just-cheeky-enough clothes like this, he's in danger of becoming something of an establishment himself.