Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke, though absolute beginners in the fashion whirl, are already fully paid-up members of the shock-horror school of London fashion. Their army of 6-foot female predatorsdressed, from towering scraped-up hairdos to spiky toes, in psychotic lashings of all-over printwas the latest in London's long history of assaults on good bourgeois fashion taste. Is it scary to see women apparently styled after the look of Eastern European hookers? Certainly. Is it offensively misogynistic? Of course. But Basso & Brooke know what they're doing: They're getting argued over with just the same amount of enthusiasm and revulsion as Giles Deacon, or Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood were in their roistering days of showing in London.
Basso & Brooke won £100,000 in support and consultancies from London's Fashion Fringe competition last year, awarded on the strength of their powerfully aggressive all-over prints (which, when closely inspected, turned out to feature an array of exuberant penises). Now backed by Aeffe, and benefiting from its immaculate production, they have a whole silhouette together, involving tightly tailored leather-insert jackets, jersey leggings, and skirts with draped side swags, and of course, a complete smothering of print (chains, Pop Art faces, and harlequin checks). Though the total look is guaranteed to appall the fainthearted, it would be churlish to disparage the intensity and conviction the Saint Martins graduates threw into this show. Does it amount to a flash premonition of what fashion will look like in 2010, though? Maybe not. Shock tactics apart, Brooke sensibly acknowledged, "It's not necessarily going to be worn as on the catwalk. We think you could easily wear one of our tuxedos with jeans."