It shouldn't be read as pretentious that Emilia Wickstead came out before her show to greet guests and explain the collection à la old-school couture. After all, until last season Wickstead's business was entirely made-to-measure and run out of the sleek Belgravia atelier that the intimate but influential crowd jostled into today.
An English country inspiration is making the rounds, but Wickstead gave it a modern spin. The clopping of hooves on the soundtrack was the most overt manifestation. She went thematic in a landscape print of Windsor Castle with tiny horses galloping across full skirts and neat waists, but it was nearly abstract. Otherwise, her take on classic femininity is too squeaky clean to really go there.
Wickstead is not edgy. As such she seems more suited to New York or Milan, where she's worked respectively for Narciso Rodriguez, Proenza Schouler, and Giorgio Armani. But, oh, does this girl know her way around pieces that women want to wear. You could almost sense the making of mental shopping lists—and by women with highly varied sensibilities—for a red tea dress, for all the pleated pieces, and for the pink jumpsuit with bell sleeves and natty mannish trousers. Kate Middleton should surely take note, but you could see Kate Moss grabbing something, too.
There is, of course, a little frisson of something here. She'll be selling some of those pleated skirts as sheer as they were shown. And the combination of powder pink and poppy red provided a little jolt, especially when a model in a pale shift made a turn to reveal an unexpected shock of bright pleats in back. If she balances that seesaw just right, Wickstead's got a big future.