Richard Nicoll's first foray into menswear earlier this year was an unequivocal critical smash, something the designer needed. He pulled it off by going back to design ground zero: himself. Today, we saw how the same approach could apply to his women's collection. It relaunched a re-energized and refocused Nicoll doing what he does best. In his own words: "no tricks, down-to-earth, athletic, urban, timeless…" And, we might add, gratifyingly sellable.

Nicoll built on the straightforward, sexy strengths of his menswear, carrying over the color palette (especially the Nicoll blues that say so much about his Sydney upbringing), individual items such as the shirts and bermuda shorts in leather, and unprecious fabrics like piqué, cotton mesh, and gray marl jersey, which loaned themselves easily to the instinctive, body-conscious sportiness of his designs. Standout pieces included the white piqué parkas, the skirts with zipped-in mesh detailing, and what amounted to a hyper-sophisticated take on T-shirt dressing, with elongated tops fluttering over shorts.

Nicoll enlarged the mesh to make an abstract pattern for some of his jacquards. His other jacquards were Regency florals from heritage weavers Stephen Walters and Sons. They were the dressiest pieces in a collection that was otherwise firmly focused on daywear, but equally, they had a punchy athleticism. Likewise the short, fitted dresses with long billowing trains in anorak taffeta. Glamorous but utilitarian. That combo is a significant strand in the Nicoll DNA.