For quite possibly the first time at a fashion show, the dreary British weather has worked in a designer's favour: the ashen skies and sodden drizzle of London made Louise Gray's acid colour and vibrant pattern sparkle all the more. Her latest offering was Autumn/Winter in name alone, popped with primary-hued print, clashing pattern and arcane accessories.
Was there a theme? Who knows - and, more to the point, who cares? The collection made its emphatic point with an overload of texture and eye-popping shade. Less colour-clash, more colour crash when red, orange and green collided in a single garment - over another, and another, each one brilliantly multi-hued. This season, Gray evidently became fixated on foil-print, as metallic gold, silver and blue checks and dots mottled the surface of every other piece. Thigh-high, stack-heel wellingtons came in a combo of polka-dot patent and metallic leather, models had their faces splattered with circular stickers or strapped into bizarre balloon-festooned headpieces that resembled a fetishistic experiment gone playfully awry - likewise the fabulous puffer-strapped tartan brassieres - half Rigby and Peller, half British Airways life-jacket.
Playful was the watchword - it was impossible to look at Gray's garments without a smile. At the same time, you were always laughing with rather than at them, no matter how outlandish the get-up. It would be easy for a designer to loose control, but Gray's hand was sure - sure enough to make flounced gold lam pantaloons look like a viable and attractive wardrobe option, rather than a dodgy clown's stage get-up. Extrapolated from the madcap mix, most of these garments could trickle in to any wardrobe - optical-print tunic dresses trimmed in red, tartan shorts and tufted skirts, and a giant mohair-check cocoon coat pock-marked with silvery-blue spots were easy to imagine on any and many a stylish back.