Australian designer Martin Grant has made a modest but steady name for himself, proving that stylish and practical need not be separate entities when it comes to women's fashion. His very consistent collections have always been quietly chic and eminently wearable, and this show displayed his USP nicely. It also demonstrated, though, why he would be best advised to stay within those restrained but effective parameters.
Shown as a presentation in the gorgeous École des Beaux-Arts, the collection began with a dress that was a good example of Grant's modus operandi, being a seemingly simple mid-length black dress with demi sleeves. But look a little closer (and this is one reason why the designer has been wise in rejecting shows for presentations in the past year, as they allow onlookers to appreciate his careful handiwork better), and his skills are more apparent. Witness how he cut the bottom of the dress to blossom out into a small bubble, but stitched it in such a way so as not to bulk out the wearer. Similarly, a simple pair of black trousers had an interesting drape effect on the hips, which actually made the model look even more sylphlike. A beautiful oak-colored leather minidress included some pockets carefully cut into the side, lightening up the material's potentially heavy effect.
Aside from detailing, Grant is also known for his ladylike aesthetic and, true to form, the only cleavage on show was on the models' toes, thanks to some particularly beautiful brightly colored round-toed high heels—cut away, rather saucily, just over the models' mid-toe joints. Less appealing, though, was the end section, in which Grant had included the ubiquitous big-shoulder trend—a misguided effort that brought to mind a normally dignified uncle getting down to some hip-hop at his niece's wedding. Grant works better when he sways gently to his own refined tune.