It is ironic that, besides sharing the same venue and show day, Christopher Kane and Richard Nicoll also shared the same overriding and seemingly contradictory theme: savage, aggressive lingerie. But it is a mark of their individual, inestimable talents that despite the similarities, each bore the designer's distinct signature. Nicoll's interpretation was reminiscent of Gaultier, Madonna and all that laced underwear/outerwear Blonde Ambition business of the early 1990's, with pastel shades, overstitched boning and plenty of conspicuous corsetry. His reference point was the work of Linder, a collage artist whose post-punk work utilises soft-core forties pin-ups of the type popularised on the pages of a young GQ by Alberto Vargas. At the same time, this was the future of retro, slicing and dicing New Look girdles and bustiers and layering them with transparent PVC. The colour palette was subtle pastels, referencing his standout Spring collection: starting with cream and ivory, shades deepened to blush and flesh, through to soft greys and metallic lurex-flecked velvets. As a catwalk statement it was strong and certainly individual - Nicoll's bubblegum palette, for one, stood out in next season's sea of inky black. Whether women will really relate to such trussed and fussed femininity is uncertain - easier to relate to were Nicoll's gentler moments in folded, sliced and slit silk crepe dresses. For me, however, the excitement was in the aggression and tough control of the layered undergarments, again forming a firmly underpinned carapace to carry next season's Nicoll customer through any hostilities. Despite the blushed sweetpea hues, shy and retiring she isn't.
The excitement was in the aggression and tough control of the layered undergarments.