This season Julien Macdonald set his collection in the English countryside or, to be more specific, the English countryside as imagined by Jilly Cooper in her novel "Riders".
Yes, Cooper's blockbuster book, (a work of fiction based around the complex infidelities within an aristocratic horsey set, for those who haven't yet found the time to read it, or see the TV series) was the main inspiration for Macdonald's Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. Dubious as this reference may sound, it does explain why Macdonald's collection could successfully be marketed as the perfect capsule wardrobe for a racy weekend away (circa 1993).
First up were padded puffa jackets with fur trimmed hoods and white cable knits that, if we are to follow the theme set out by Macdonald, would make ideal daywear for a brisk walk in the country. Then there were the camel coloured capes and trousers that would undoubtedly appeal to the polo-playing types. And as for something a little more comfortable to slip into come nightfall, the vast selection of feminine lace negligees should do the trick.
Forgetting the references for a moment, there were certain looks that would work without the backdrop of a bad romance novel. The equestrian pieces will undoubtedly be a success with customers, as will the wearable knitwear. However, the abundance of lace dresses were slightly more hit and miss. Fragile long sleeved numbers, where the lace appeared artfully eaten away or partially disintegrated, worked well, as did the clashing colour combination of black and navy that they came in. But barely there dresses in dusky pink and black, with either a tiny pleated skirt or longer flowing train, bore more resemblance to saucy lingerie than anything else.
This collection has seen Julien Macdonald curbing his magpie-like tendencies and he has certainly stepped away from the sequins and sparkle that have been cause for such criticism in the past. But if Macdonald is seeking to redefine himself as a designer, then are babydoll lingerie dresses really the way to go?