Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler riffed on Aquascutum's soldiering history for Fall. The company made officer's uniforms as far back as the Crimean War (as well as "trench" coats in WWI, of course). It didn't turn out to be an aggressively militaristic collection, though. Inspired by The Nutcracker, the designers said they ended up thinking more about toy soldiers, which explained the capes, military jackets with oversized frogging and toggles, and the little medals hanging from dress straps.

Still, anyone can come up with a catchy theme. The test of true design drive is whether the execution takes the material somewhere else; equally important is whether idea and execution merge to apply to a believable customer. Herz and Fidler's jackets and short coats ticked both of those boxes. Minutely quilted wool and silk numbers with slight standaway volumes had a grown-up sophistication, while waterproof anoraks in color-blocked black, cream, and mustard had a sporty zip.

If they're clever, the Aquascutum duo has the potential to appeal simultaneously to traditional customers as well as to a fashion fiend who just might be tempted by a scarlet jacket that seems to be made of painted feathers (it was a jagged cotton and plastic, in fact). And that seems to be the direction the designers are safely headed in now.