At Graeme Black
's show a year ago, he spun an atmospheric backstory that the subsequent catwalk presentation didn't live up to. It happened again for Spring 2010. Black imagined a world where the extravagance of the maharajas hybridized with British colonial culture in an Art Deco hotbed. There was scene-setting aplenty in the birdsong-and-sitar soundtrack and the wafting dry ice that suggested dawn over the Ganges. The extravagance was taken care of by the real jewelry (by Moussaieff), which required 20 bodyguards. But, inspirations aside, Black always seems to picture a woman dressing for life on a 24/7 red carpet. If the Raj was reflected in jewel-toned silks and there was a khaki hint of the military Brit in epauletted jackets and jodhpurs, the heart of the collection was really a heyday-of-Hollywood glamour. That meant dresses shirred or draped or fishtailed and jersey gowns trailing trains or worn with sandals for that at-home-with-the-Selznicks look. If that sounds casual, it wasn't. Black doesn't really do "relaxed." The daywear that accompanied this glam slam, for example, was exemplified by his first outfit—a white croc jacket, lean white trouser, and maroon silk blouse tied at the waist. The luxe is strictly old-school—bodyguards need apply.