London menswear enigma Jsen Wintle's specialty is the arcane inspiration. For fall, he'd been looking at early daguerreotypes of cowboys, which got him brooding on frontier lawlessness and the way that people snap in extreme circumstances. Each seat in his show venue carried an anonymous quote about the human compulsion to sin. Given that said venue was a crepuscular basement, the prevailing mood before the first outfit had even appeared was distinctly ominous, well in keeping with the air of the night that always attached to Wintle's bespoke business in London.
But as soon as the show started, the shadows lifted, and it was plain to see that the designer's move into ready-to-wear has eased him away from his signature precision tailoring. The presentation was a tightly focused variation on a theme. Either subtle or dulltake your pickbut what could be simpler than a leather jacket and jeans? Wintle was keen to show his casual side with the denim and knitwear, like a long, cabled cardigan coat. The emphasis on outerwear was something new for him: puffer jacket and vest, a herringboned peacoat with a big shawl collar. But that last detail suggested his heart will always be with formalwear, like the tux-striped trousers he showed with a gray cabled sweater. The last outfit, a cropped tailcoat, ideally paired with jeans, was another attempted détente between day and night. Hedi Slimane is clearly the benchmark for this sort of endeavor, and Wintle has a way to go before he matches that kind of mastery. But he's been working with Kopenhagen Fur, so there was a patchwork of black mink on the front of one leather jacket and a double-breasted coat of astrakhan. They suggested he has at least mastered the art of keeping his (Russian) customers satisfied.