Any woman dressing in Martine Sitbon has always had a somewhat dark vibe about them: girlish innocence she does not do. What she does most definitely do, however, is cut a sharp shoulder, a second-skin trouser and a hard, aggressive little cocktail dress. If that last one sounds a touch paradoxical - not unheard of in the fashion-ese lingo of disparate influences A meet X - so was Sitbon's Autumn/Winter collection.
It opened with a foray into nudes - taupe, caramel and lots of beige, like perfect tawny skin. Unfortunately, unless yours is equally exquisite, they're something to steer clear of. However, as ever, Rue du Mail got dangerous when the black crept in. There was a slight medieval mood, it seemed, to the layered and buttressed asymmetrical shapes: curvy jacket peplums were doubled-up over taut trousers like doublet and hose, while outsized fabric palettes were clustered at ankle and wrist like suits of ruffs, or edged in armorial sequins and layered thickly, protectively, over shoulders and necklines. Sitbon's women this season will be zipping themselves into everything from wrapped leather jackets to strapless sequined waist-cinchers to short satin evening dresses, dipping in front, panniered over the hips, protecting your flanks and zipping open from décolletage to hem. Colours were dark and rich: hematite and slate-grey, thick plum and naturally acres of black of every description, occasionally touched with the glitter of silver brocade swags, lame and sequins - sometimes altogether and more in the last (slightly too long) section of organic collaged cocktail frocks. Best in show? A brief black velvet jacket and panniered belt over the tightest satin trousers outside of a Rolling Stones concert. Disco Jeanne d'Arc may not be everybody's cup of tea, but tonight it worked.