Does sex really change all that much? When its articulated through fashion, yes. A hell of a lot. Erogenous zones are ever-shifting, sexual identities fluctuating form day to day. The decision to wear trousers or a skirt - as a man or woman - speaks volumes, before you even start to think about the sort of 'volumes' fashion obsesses with, i.e. dirndl versus mini. No prizes for guessing which Mark Fast stuck with for Autumn/Winter 2012.
That said, the length was about the only think that felt like a carry-over at this Mark Fast show, where the designer finally got his act together and knitted up more than a few dresses that didn't resemble the leftover of a moth's springtime banquet. There were a few holey-moley moments towards the end, but on the whole this was a solid offering, even if the hemlines rode way too high. Fast injected merino wool and cashmere with the stretch he normally knits entire dresses from, creating something that cross-bred cuddly chenille cardigans with vavoom Alaia-alike sex appeal. Tiny cropped cardigans hugged the body, sometimes integrated into the dress or a camisole-backed top ribbed against the torso. That felt a little bit grunge - dare we say that in a season devoted to decoration and the rediscovery of the cocktail dress? Maybe it came from the palette of washed-out black and monochrome stripes, alongside denim blue, flesh (both the colour and the model kind) and Courtney Love Kinderwhore pink. When Fast trapped pearls inside nooses of yarn to hem those powder-pink cropped tops, we felt on safer and more interesting ground.
Fast couldn't stay focussed for long. Last season he got obsessed with fringing, and they dribbled out a few garments here too as long, wispy strings of yarn danging from hem and sleeve and wrapping around the models' bodies. You longed to take a pair of scissors and snip them off - pulling them may have unravelled the dresses, after all, and they were already far too short. Fast's show notes referenced a 'destructive' society - but simply leaving your dresses unfinished at the bottom is a glib, facetious nose-wrinkle to the notion of deconstruction. Fast isn't an intellectual. He should stop so desperately trying to be.
It comes back to sex, again. This collection felt like Fast was going through the motions, but with no real feeling. I guess we're back to Porno Chic again.