"The clock is ticking," said Tomas Maier after his show for Bottega Veneta this morning. "We're in a fight with time. It's the one thing we can't control." Beating the clock was a staple of suspense in Hollywood's old film noirs, and there was a dark edge in Maier's new collection, ably underpinned by Sebastien Perrin's moody urban soundtrack. It included snatches of dialogue from the movies of John Cassavetes. The men in those films always seemed so clenched and conflicted, and they cast a serious shadow over the Bottega catwalk.

But it was a serious chord that Maier wanted to strike. "Back to work, no nonsense," he emphasized. He focused squarely on the tailored suit and coat, the uniform of one subspecies of the working man, stripping away superfluity, keeping the silhouette lean and sharp and the palette monochrome, and concealing details like the buttons on a coat or the zipper on a cardigan. The collection felt somber, almost sinister, as well it might when its tentpoles were charcoal flannel and black leather, and yet there were enough sophisticated Maier flourishes to let in an undertow of decadent playfulness. A sparkling trim of jet on the lapel of an otherwise matte-black evening ensemble, for instance. Or a jolt of salmon pink in the form of a substantial double-breasted suit. Or gillies proposed as an alternative to the solid intrecciato loafer. Maier understands that idiosyncrasy is the essence of luxury. That's why he was happy to cut a three-piece suit from a phantom plaid that tickled the fancy as the ghost of menswear past.