If there is any debate as to the currency of romance in modern fashion then Jonathan Saunders ended it in London tonight with a collection that managed to synthesise the delicate and the utilitarian exquisitely.
Opening looks included a gathered cotton trapeze top in a matte lichen green, topped off with an oversize pussybow and decorated with vinyl patches in the silhouettes of boughs and fronds.
Throughout, the beauty was in the sheer function of fabric - some looks were embellished with no more than the gathers and twists the simple cotton afforded, scrunched into bustiers or paper-bag waists on trousers, or wrapped and finished with an obi-style belt.
Full tulip skirts made use of their swag of volume for fullness and feminine effect. Some of the most complex outfits were the ones in humble poplin - a city stripe shirt twisted into new form, say, or a gauzy peasant dress with concertina ruched sides.
That isn't to say the collection wasn't luxurious or incredibly rich in its construction, nor did it revel in a posed simplicity. But the focus on shape and structure rather than surface adornment was one of its most striking attitudes - that's why it felt so contemporary, and that's where the romance came in.
Undoubtedly it was soft, and feminine-minded, in sheer overlays, abstracted floral prints and dresses bristling with organza and tulle applique, so much so they formed the body of the entire silhouette. But it was also functional, and convincing too. So often the most romantic clothing proves too delicate for real life; it doesn't fit in. Saunders made the point that durable need not mean drab.
Then there were the practical elements: a beautifully tailored double-breasted coat, a cotton shirt with uniform-esque flap pockets, boxy, cropped leather car coats that recalled last season's outerwear.
Saunders is well aware of his woman and he knows she wants it all. In this collection, he may well have handed it to her.