With the Carpenters in the air, it was clear before a model set foot on the rustic flagstone runway that this was not going to be one of the disco glitzfests Julien Macdonald habitually throws for his own label in London. Sure enough, the first girl out was wearing a drifty, seventies-era tiered cream cheesecloth tent banded with inserts of macramé and tasseled shoulder straps, followed by a dusty-pink crinkled petticoat dress pulled in with crisscrossed lacing under the bust.
Macdonald tightened up his romantic hippy theme with a section of shrunken washed cotton bellhop jackets and biker leathers sweetened in tan leather and cream canvas, sometimes layered atop long blouses and cropped pants. Other modernizing touches, among all the airy gauze and ombré-dyed silk, were the eye-catching Givenchy bagsoutsized shoulder-slung satchels loaded with heavy-duty straps and chunky leather braids, or giant wooden-handled semi-circular bags in squashy skins.
It made for a pretty summer collection that showcased some of Macdonald's talent with knit (loosely crocheted fishing-net cardigans, for example) and included the sort of luxury details French women like when summering around the Mediterranean. The season-to-season continuity of brand image remains a point of confusion, though, as this collection seems poles apart from the strictly constructed homages to Audrey Hepburn that Macdonald has been producing for Givenchy Haute Couture.