British heritage labels used to be the preserve of classy ladies to such an extent that the incoming designers charged with updating them would run a mile rather than acknowledge those traditional customers. Not so this season at Aquascutum. Many a beloved and familiar British face was on the runway: Stella Tennant, Susie Bick, Yasmin LeBon, Cecilia Chancellor, and Jenny Howarth—a veritable roll call of great locally grown models of the eighties and nineties. The fact that they walked alongside members of the new generation, including London girls Jourdan Dunn and Daisy Lowe, sent the message that Aquascutum might have something for everyone.
Designer Michael Herz made his best argument for cross-generational accessibility in the rainwear, Aquascutum's original claim to fame. An innovative touch came in his "two-for-one" double-layered techno-taffeta coats, combining airy volume with functionality, and a couple of tie-on fur tippets (one fur, one mink) designed to transform any coat into something snugly and luxuriously warm. Maybe, though, the idea of addressing women in their forties or over—however right and exciting in principle—was something that made Herz suffer empathy-failure. It was hard to imagine that the grown women walking his runway would ever choose to wear a revived Aquascutum house check, or a puffy pink floral organdy dress, or something tuniclike cut out of crystal-sprinkled lace. New classy ladies (of any nationality) are not like the old guard, and some of these clothes would engender a natural fear of age-adding on sight. Maybe next season Herz should take things further and hire the stylish, fashion-experienced women he gathered on his runway as a focus group, not just a clutch of trophy models.