[Images from Elle UK].
A show full of contradictions, but not awkwardly so, Roksanda Ilincic's SS/12 collection gave us the modern formal dresser who cannot let go of her classic beret or her shocking pink hair. She likes classic shapes and flamboyant evening-wear lines, but she also needs to be noticed. A wallflower she is not. The orange rope belt in this image was a recurring element, as were the colourful hats. Meanwhile we had reliable, high quality fabrics in sumptuous shades - the grey and olive work well together.
This bell shape is now unforgettably associated with Mary Katrantzou's intricate designs, but Ilincic has taken it back for an olive gold gown that is more straightforward than the erratic nature of Katrantzou's kaleidoscope pieces. Ilincic's dress almost feels like it could have been adapted from a Regency ballgown with a bustle.
The same fabric is now reinvented as a sheath dress with a pintucked bottom section. Adding neon orange into the mix with shoes and another beret, the olive gold becomes almost mustard and we are seeing it in a different light.
A further, more basic piece is this pink number. There's a colour block overload (apart from those white shoes) which is palatable as the hair and wool take on the cerise shade in different ways to the clothing itself. This feels like a lesson in colour mixing and dyeing, but it's a lesson you want to get involved with.
Now our heroine is feeling like dipping her toe in turquoise, yet she can't let go of that cerise. As ever, the colours are pure and the aesthetics are clean. There is no fussy layering or embellishment, just a single layer to absorb.
That grey is back from image #1! And it's been paired with the second pattern of the collection, but this time it's mainly cream and more geometric than image #2's scattering of purple. Those fluted sleeves and fluid trouser legs add volume where our Ilincic woman wants to be noticed whilst in monochrome.
Discarding the beret, our heroine hints that she can grow up when she needs to, but those sleeves are probably a sign of disorder and freedom. They contradict the neatness of the main body and they interrupt the shape of the arm. I'd love to see the high street take on this shape - it would be a great antidote to the tired satin party dresses that people stuff themselves into every time there's a 'special occasion'. We need more Ilincic women, please!