June 17, 2012 London
As seasonal themes go, "surface elements" is pretty loose, and this collection's strength was that Willow didn't waste energy overemphasizing it. Yes, there were the rather literal metallic scales and the croc-inspired cuts, but there were also the killer silk pants, slit up-up-up on the side, which didn't have much to do with anything except looking dead sexy and easy to wear. And though you could, if you tried, make a case for Willow's Madame Grès-pleated numbers having a kind of pachydermal density and tactility, that would only undermine their well-made loveliness. Except, actually, it wouldn't, because Kit Willow's emerging signature as a designer is her ability to marry tough and pretty in an idiosyncratic way—that Madame Grès dress, those slit-open trousers, the trademark bras and corsets, they all have a warrior princess mien. You might even call it an outback mentality.