According to the show's press notes, this Osman collection was inspired by "strong, stylish female figures with a sense of adventure." But while the young designer Osman Yousefzada cited Peggy Guggenheim in particular, the long shapeless dresses, layered nubby-mohair check pieces, and a look that involved a blazer over a cropped top suggested some rather different female figures—namely, 1990's actresses, with Andie MacDowell in Green Card and Winona Ryder in Reality Bites coming specifically to mind. And while any excuse to cite the MacDowell/Depardieu film is welcome, that movie was notable for matching the badness of MacDowell's acting with the dodginess of her wardrobe. Nubby mohair? And in check?
Yousefzada has a tendency to see inspirations in his work that remain opaque to most others: Last time, it was "Mrs. Simpson" who got a name check, even though the clothes looked a lot sportier and skimpier than anything ever worn by Wallis herself. Now, this isn't necessarily a problem—when has a fashion press release ever really reflected what's on the runway? But it only works as long as the clothes are good, and that is a bit more problematic here. Quite why, though, is a puzzle, as the boy can cut a good dress. This was proven by the opener, in which four models marched out together (starting the show off on a very nineties note, with its reference to the famous Cindy/Naomi/Linda/Christy moment on Versace's runway). The quartet wore beautiful draped black dresses from Yousefzada's new capsule jersey collection. This is just what London needs: a young designer who can make timeless, flattering clothes, who isn't trying to reinvent a wheel that needs no reinvention. But just when you're thinking Yousefzada could be the very useful product of a union between Diane von Furstenberg and Donna Karan, he brings out some oversize palazzo pants and an unfortunate cocoon of a fur coat. Perhaps his jersey collection will remind the designer that sticking to what he does best is more fun for both him and onlookers.