Who'd have thought the meeting of technical sports gear and glamour could be managed quite so slickly by Julien Macdonald? Perhaps it was his competitive streak, sharpened by the knowledge that London is full of returning designers—and the fact that he has a deep-pocketed backer, Jamey Hargreaves—that pushed Macdonald to put on a show that displayed all of his accomplishments. His tensile collection of scuba-influenced, modern-looking pieces was presented in a sandy mise-en-scène, around a specially built fountain for good measure. "Controlled" and "tight" were two apt words Macdonald was coming up with backstage. "I went scuba diving for the first time at Sharm el-Sheikh, and I felt so good in the suit, I thought, why wouldn't a woman want to feel like that in her clothes? I thought of her diving in the ocean during the day and on her yacht at night."
Macdonald was smart to limit his palette to red, black, beige, and white, and to pare his statement back to cutting and piecing jersey, and splicing in sheer inserts. True, there are others working around the same sort of ideas this season (lace-sided leggings are everywhere, for instance), but Macdonald, with his experience in Parisian haute couture, has a head start on them. By holding back his urge to complicate and decorate, he showed the best of himself—though he did indulge in one silver-pailletted mermaid dress for old times' sake. Allowed to shine on its own, it looked all the more special. That's an experience Julien Macdonald can take away and be proud of.