September 19, 2011 London
Perhaps a more apt term would be sportswear couture. That means casual chic, exquisitely considered. That high-low merger isn't a new concept, but when done right, it can be the ultimate in luxury. Take a boxy T-shirt cut in peony pink silk gazar tucked into a beautifully gathered paper-bag skirt, all pulled together with a bright rope belt and a groovy beanie knitted from silk faille ribbons.
The sophisticated slouch—emphasis on sophisticated—had newness to it. The designer experimented with fabrics, too. A boyish little suit was cut from navy and white raffia. The nubbly textured fabric pieced with silk on tees and drop-shouldered coats looked like bouclé but turned out to be terry. A navy crinkle cotton isn't something you expect here, either, but looked pretty fab in a knotted-waist dress and sweatpants.
Ilincic's method of reinvigorating her lantern-sleeved and pannier-ruffled dresses with not-quite-neon color was less than inventive. Still, her color sense is sharp, so within the context of the collection, it formed a cohesive whole.
So, too, did the woman and her work. Backstage, Ilincic wore a spongy soft heather gray Whistles T-shirt tucked into a floor-sweeping silk skirt from her own collection. She's a designer who lives the dream, and more importantly, the reality.