Given Mark fast's design instincts - simply put: short, bright and above all tight - it's not surprising that he consistently puts on a more convincing show for spring than winter. In that respect, he's almost unique on the London Fashion Week scene. We love crafty knit-wits in London town, but Fast's focus on aerodynamic, air-conditioned little numbers seems set for warmer climes. A Fast frock serves you much better basking on a super-yacht in the Mediterranean than huddling for warm in a bus-shelter in Aldwych.
'Tropical exoticism', coincidentally, was what Fast looked to for inspiration for spring 2012. Of course, what that actually added up to was more of the same - namely, more of those stretchy little shock-frocks that have made his name and fortune (he's spun them out into a shoe collab with Aldo this season, alongside his Fast and Faster lines). The most interesting opened the show, dripping with golden fringe from every lace-knit row. Fast wanted them to look like a sand-storm, and as they blustered down the catwalk you couldn't help but grudgingly acknowledge his abstract aim had been achieved. They also resembled Tina Turner rolling down the river in a hurricane of Alaia tassels. Much more exciting - and a comparison most young designers would kill for.
Alaia is of course a touchstone for any kind of body-con knit. Fast got a bit carried away in his unofficial homage - a few black numbers with bouncy tiered hems veered into the rip-off territory. Colouring them in highlighter shades of neon-yellow, orange and cerise didn't help, neither did trying to distract by chucking a bit of midriff-baring feather-print neoprene into the mix. Fast's feeling for the short-and-curvy sometimes comes across a bit one-note, and once again it was when he dropped his hemline below the crotch that things got really interesting. Those desert storm fringe-frocks looked better when there was more. Fast tricked one out as a jumpsuit, and it was dynamite, with Nancy Cunard bangles clambering elegantly up the model's limbs and some natty studded Louboutin espadrilles towering sky-high. A bit of clever macrame in ivory cotton looked great too - Even when they hit the ankle, they revealed more flesh than they concealed, but in the cleverest possible way. A column of open-knit in burnished gold, meanwhile, looked like the world's chicest lobster-pot. Fast should knit a few of those quick-smart - the jet-set will be sporting nothing else come next July.