Welcome back, Danielle Scutt! Showing today for the first time in three seasons, Scutt sent out a forceful collection that confirmed her assertion that she's spent the past year doing some growing up. Certainly, the looks here were polished: Scutt has that rare ability to make really sexy clothes look sophisticated, thanks to sharp tailoring and wit in the design. On the understated end of things, there were her knee-length pleated wool skirt, slit up to there, and sleek knit jumpsuits with diving necklines, both looks for high-IQ vixens. Scutt's body-hugging crushed-velvet dresses were nervier—a little louche, yes, but not crass. That's a fine line, and Scutt kept the dresses modest enough to stay on the right side of it.
The designer's riskiest idea this season was to craft a wide mesh from pieces of silk, and then drape it like cloth. The mesh appeared in a host of winning garments, including a skinny suit in black and a hot pink pencil dress with dramatic pouf sleeves. The craft here was breathtaking, and it was refreshing, too, to see looks redolent of old-Hollywood glamour that weren't narrowly referential of it; Scutt just conjured the mood. She also did well with her outerwear, in particular an adapted trenchcoat that draped at the back. The silhouette was dramatic, but its oversize proportions gave it a nice, shrugged-on feeling. This was glamour re-spun as cool.
An additional note, about the jewelry: Freedom, which produces costume jewelry for Topshop, collaborated with Scutt on the statement pieces worn in the show. "Statement" might not go far enough in describing the impact of the shoe clips, chain belts, chokers, and frankly wackadoodle earrings, comprised of teakettle, ear, and lipstick charms, but it will have to do. At first the jewelry seemed nuts, and then it struck you that maybe that kind of fun is the whole point of costume jewelry. Girls who want to indulge can do so this spring: The Scutt jewelry goes on sale April 1 at Topshop.com, and will be available in select Topshop stores starting in May.