Some weeks back, The New York Times ran a story about how business was booming for the pope emeritus' shoemakers in Mexico. It may only have been that abstract cue that compelled some wild-eyed dreamers in Lee Roach's audience to focus on the footwear and make a random connection with the ecclesiastical nature of his clothing. Which meant that where some saw minimal, others saw ascetic. This season, with another solo catwalk show in the offing, Roach challenged himself to imbue his pared-to-the-bone offering with pulsating, vibrant soul. How on earth to do that with a pile of fabric?

Roach's answer? He went raw. Japanese denim with unfinished hems, a real camouflage print, aprons like an attenuated punk bum-flap. Was it enough? Fact is, Roach's aesthetic is so uncompromisingly refined that it is all but unbendable.

Still, it's always illuminating to hear him talk about his clothes—how he feels he is evolving Savile Row, finding a new uniform for men, extending the essential functionality of menswear. But in the living, breathing flesh of his latest collection, it was Roach's asceticism that dominated. Pure, yes. Minimal, undoubtedly. Then, when jackets emerged that were artfully strung off the waist, one's mind was cast back to the challenges Helmut Lang set himself in the early nineties. There was such soul then. It's clearly something that Roach recognizes the need for. That much was obvious in the uplifting techno soundtrack that Alexi Delano had created for the show. Roach is young.