Much the same way that Magritte painted a pipe only to reject its pipe-ness, Veronique Branquinho depicted Scottish themes in a defiantly un-Scottish way (she played a similar slant last season with a non-Mod theme). By opening the show with Black Watch tartan, closing it with Harris tweed, and interspersing those with some Fair Isle, she paid her respect to the land of haggis and haar. Yet all that shimmer and shine functioned as a foil, distancing the collection from the convenient associations.
In silhouette terms, Branquinho didn't push any boundaries, and to hear one editor nearby whisper "I have that same long trench from her early days" made it seem like a deliberate decision. For a while, the Belgian designer possessed the cult-forming, directional sense that Phoebe Philo leverages today. And she hasn't lost her touch; witness the mohair short-sleeve sweaters (in chalk stripe and tartan) she paired with filmy blue, Lurex plissé skirts. Likewise the sexy perfecto gilet, also in the blue-green Black Watch. Whereas the textural trompe l'oeil of paillettes mimicking Fair Isle and cable Aran knits was Branquinho at her most creative, the tailored gray flannel menswear was the designer at her most polished. All those fluoro accents—red interior piping, orange sleeves, and a band of cable knitting up the back of fishnet tights—served as small decorative disruptions that gave the collection a youthful spark. Or maybe it wasn't youthful—that would be too simplistic for Branquinho. It will be fun to wear, either way.