Aquascutum's designers, Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler, set themselves two missions this season: to research the company's origins in 1851, and to delve into the vintage highlights in the company's archives. What they found there: excellent examples of militaria (since Aquascutum, like Burberry, outfitted soldiers for the trenches) and some stately English ladies' coats derived from fifties couture. It takes more than that to make a rounded, modern runway show, though, so the designers concentrated on bringing bright color and texture to dresses to perk up the outerwear.

In the sequence of the show, the coats came out first in a lot of variety: a khaki officer's greatcoat (double-breasted and long, a London trend), a molded bright-blue bouclé collarless style, and a fit-and-flare gold-and-mustard jacquard hourglass being three of them. The lack of a consistent shape running through the show looked puzzling, until the outerwear came out again slipped over colorful embroidered wool or one-color dresses in turquoise, burnt orange, and red. Then the designers' combined eye for color made the show jump alive: a dark bordeaux coat with a red dress, a khaki trench over orange, yellow with red, and so on. It may seem simplistic, but sometimes it's those little footnotes on how to wear things differently that end up being the most inspiring point of a whole show.