Appropriation. Appropriate or not, fashion is rife with it - from three decade-old Alaia to barely three seasons-passed Balenciaga. Kinder Aggugini is one of the few willing to admit the fact. In fact, it was the title he gave to his Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, where the garments were 'remixed' alongside a soundtrack that mashed Dolly Parton with Kelis and Jay-Z.
Aggugini's clothes, however, were slightly less jarring than the music, although no less entertaining or upbeat. The kick-off came with the print, the pastoral vignettes on eighteenth century toile de jouy replaced with spaghetti western scenes. Cowboys were a theme - but never overriding, even when the horses ran riot across blouses and A-line skirts and Stephen Jones topped looks with his take on the Texas ten-gallon. In fact, make that twenty gallon - Mr Jones has decided big hats are back in a big way. Fabulous to see as always.
The pony-club theme also fitted with the appropriation idea - there were hints of Ralph Lauren's iconic Polo logo to them, and to the preppy proportions of narrow-shouldered blazers and short skirts. There were hints of Hermes too when the delicate repeat-prints were splashed across silk twill and gazar. There were a few looks you couldn't help but wish would creep back into those houses' collections too - the Hermes orange twinset backed in graphic silk would be an instant sell-out, as would Polo pony-print wool mini-skirts. That isn't an accusation, or a criticism, merely an observation - both Lauren and Hermes have become tear-pages in the postmodern fashion reference-books, ripe for pillaging by designers old and new. That's the culture vulture rules according to philosopher Jean Baudrillard, after all. Despite Aggugini's tongue-in-cheek reference to 'pure theft' in his show notes (intriguingly reading more like a Baudrillard essay than a press release), he made their style entirely his own - and entirely desirable to boot - in what unquestionably amounted to his strongest collection to date. Clever, but not too clever about it.