Roksanda Ilincic has pulled herself together. The collection she showed in the classy establishment surroundings of the Gladstone Library (a stone's throw from Downing Street) was a fulfillment of the promise of this Serbian-born designer's innate personal chic. It's a style that evolved out of her adoration of seventies and eighties Yves Saint Laurent (which her mother wore), via the crucible of Central Saint Martins' M.A. program, where she learned how to make drama out of exaggerated shapes.
Until now, the trouble was that it was all getting a bit lost in yards of loopy, semifitted, frayed-edge material. But it seems the bracing reality of this year's economic chill made her shape up, finish seams, sculpt shoulders, and clarify the fact that she can offer separates like beautiful, draped silk velvet tops, and not just party dresses. It hasn't been at the cost of her essential character, though. Ilincic has been working massive shoulder volumes for at least three seasons, and now they fall within the realm of the acceptable. She's also deft with fabric and color, choosing crocodile-stamped gunmetal brocade, violet duchesse satin, and silvery panne velvet this season. Ilincic is moving toward a mastery of the formal skills that will showcase her flair better than ever.