There are two interesting subtexts in this particular edition of London fashion week. One is the newfound focus that many designers are displaying. The other is the intriguing range of influences. The two are connected. Look at Fiona Sinha and Aleksandar Stanic's latest collection. They were thinking about the razor-sharp style of teddy girls in the fifties, which inspired a sleeveless jacket and a mean pair of pants, and the bad-girl sheath dress that was the main silhouette. The shapes may have been repetitious, but (some curious draping aside) the leanness of the inspiration trimmed away the fat that confused Sinha-Stanic's last collection.
It also created a sympathetic context for Fiona and Aleksandar's other theme: the dark energy they'd felt in the work of Peter Doig during his retrospective at the Tate earlier this year. (Seems like the Tate is as seminal as Central Saint Martins in the Spring 2009 collections!) Against an LED screen playing footage of Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth, the mannequins marched in those teddy-tough shapes printed with intimations of catastrophe: lava bursts, palm trees against a blazing sky, cosmic explosions. The clash of a hot-pink jacket and Halloween-orange pants or the vermilion cocktail dress with the panel of chenille lace set in the back were lurid enough to emphasize the notion of dark energy. Focused as they were, Sinha-Stanic mightn't have had a lot to say, but they said it with persuasive conviction.