January 19, 2008 Paris
But as soon as the show started, the shadows lifted, and it was plain to see that the designer's move into ready-to-wear has eased him away from his signature precision tailoring. The presentation was a tightly focused variation on a theme. Either subtle or dulltake your pickbut what could be simpler than a leather jacket and jeans? Wintle was keen to show his casual side with the denim and knitwear, like a long, cabled cardigan coat. The emphasis on outerwear was something new for him: puffer jacket and vest, a herringboned peacoat with a big shawl collar. But that last detail suggested his heart will always be with formalwear, like the tux-striped trousers he showed with a gray cabled sweater. The last outfit, a cropped tailcoat, ideally paired with jeans, was another attempted détente between day and night. Hedi Slimane is clearly the benchmark for this sort of endeavor, and Wintle has a way to go before he matches that kind of mastery. But he's been working with Kopenhagen Fur, so there was a patchwork of black mink on the front of one leather jacket and a double-breasted coat of astrakhan. They suggested he has at least mastered the art of keeping his (Russian) customers satisfied.