Julien Macdonald has been handed the mandate to carve out a distinct, but commercially-viable identity for the house of Givenchy. For Fall—his second collection as creative director— Macdonald brought in a few of the design ideas currently making the rounds. Patchwork, handkerchief-point chiffon dresses, biker jackets and the somewhat exhausted Casbah look all made an appearance.

Macdonald opened with a grayish-brown distressed leather patchwork parka worn with gray leather pants and stacked knee-high boots. His take on biker leathers involved cutting and seaming the jacket short and close to the body, then adding an Elizabethan-style standup collar. There were also Walter Raleigh-esque bloomers worn with swashbuckling boots, English country house tapestries fashioned into coats and bags, Gloriana-style gilded brocade jeans and a tights-and-tunic look perhaps inspired by a few late-night Errol Flynn movies.

When he exerts his skills in knitwear—his original claim to fame—Macdonald does best, as he demonstrated briefly in this collection with a huge loopy black sweater and some laddered punk knits. But he quickly returned to glitzier looks, like a lame harem jumpsuit, a gold-edged djellaba coat and some café-au-lait-toned satins for evening. It was hard to find a uniting theme other than a feeling for the Eighties. But fashion skewered that decade to death a year ago, and there is still a sense that this collection is struggling to find a raison d'etre.