Iconic mannequin Carmen dell'Orefice's presence in the front row of the latest Jaeger
show was a reminder that exactly 50 years ago, she was photographed semi-naked on a Caribbean beach by Norman Parkinson for a Jaeger campaign. That was a memorable moment in the brand's 125-year history. Karen Boyd, the brand's current head of design, tried to create another with a dark, dramatic collection that was a little too contrived to be entirely successful. The first look, for instance, was a strapless jumpsuit with a boxy little pagoda-shouldered jacket striped in black and ecru, like something from Glasgow's Arts and Crafts movement (Chris Kane featured a similar motif in his show earlier in the day). The same shoulder and the same banding dominated the show. They gave it a retro feel (sort of sci-fi retro, like Blade Runner
), which came through elsewhere, in a polka-dotted tea dress, say, or an Art Deco print of glass shards, or a kimono coat in black and a shagreenlike shade of green. (Echoes of the archives, perhaps?) A lot of effort went into the textiles: hammered silks, boiled wools, crocheted overskirts, lacelike perforations, lacquering, and several herds of alpaca, which shed their pelts for skirts, jackets, and coats. But all that work wasn't so well served by the uniform darkness of the palette. Alternatives to the black were icily pale, almost android shades of green, blue, and cream.