In a season when too many so-so, green, and frankly unprepared young designers have been jostling for attention on London runways, Peter Pilotto outclassed the lot at a stroke. From the twisted and draped dresses to the molded jackets, every piece in the collection—even the ones that appeared to be in one-color fabrics—was treated to print effects derived from butterfly wings and the look of natural mineral deposits. The success of it, though, was the way Pilotto managed to control all that surface interest into clothes that looked so special, modern, and uncontrived that many in the audience were wondering just how quickly they could race backstage to place a personal order.

The secret behind this apparent overnight success is that it's nothing of the kind. The label has been around for a couple of years, and there are two heads behind the scenes: Pilotto himself, an Austrian who graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 2004 and specializes in prints, and Christopher De Vos, who was formerly at Vivienne Westwood and has a genius for draping a dress. Since they began working together, they've developed a distinct signature, certainty about what they're doing, and the know-how to achieve it. (The collection is already selling on net-a-porter.com and at Matches in London, and to give a flavor of the label's insider fan base, model and Jefferson Hack's significant other Anouck Lepère wore one of Pilotto's galaxy-print tunic dresses from last season to a Lanvin dinner the night before the up-and-comer's presentation.) Pilotto is the only designer to be selected this season for a New Generation-sponsored runway show. Quality, not quantity, is what counts when it comes to promoting talent.