Antonio Marras loves flowers. So does Kenzo Takada: he splashed them all over his signature garments for thirty-odd years before bowing out to Mr Marras, so they can be considered something of a house tradition here.
They're also a rather unconventional subject upon which to base a winter collection. Florals for spring are hardly innovative, but there's something compelling about wearing silks splodged with rich vegetation while boughs are bare and shivering. Marras didn't concern himself too much with the wintry stuff for his Autumn/Winter 2011 Kenzo collection, bar the autumnal palette of muddy mustards, browns and rich burgundies that dominated. His dresses generally had a summery feel, all wafting smocked silk trailing over the floor and inset with terribly chilly chinks of chantilly lace. More practical were his wrapped layers, with long shirt over slouchy silk trousers, short embroidered bolero with cropped sleeves pulled over the top of printed blouses and sweaters. There were even knits for a lucky few models, chunky and warm in vintage seventies-style bad-taste done good, with bands of fur knitted into the geometrics decorating their surfaces.
If that doesn't really sound like Kenzo, you'd be wrong. Despite the dulled colour, the madcap mixes of pattern and surface texture were reminiscent of this house's signature motifs - where else could you expect to see jacquard, paisley, tartan, embroidery and ribbing mixed together not only in a single outfit, but often a single garment? The ethnic bent to all that layering, tunics over trousers under embroidered cropped blazer and the like, also paid homage to Kenzo past. It was possibly a little too reminiscent at times of Kenzo past to really feel like Kenzo future, but Marras' sure hand meant that, even when it took a turn for the retro, this trip always came up smelling of roses.