The entire first day of London Fashion Week was blown out of the water, headline-wise, by Tom Ford's Oscar Week womenswear show in Los Angeles. Quirky British experimentalism, it would seem, is no match for Hollywood opulence.
Today, London's closest contender to Ford's full-throttled brand of red-carpet dressing, Julien Macdonald, did his bit to redress the balance. By his standards, if no-one else's, the show was relatively restrained; this is a designer, after all, whose front row's been adorned by everyone from the (real) Miss Piggy to a (fake) Michael Jackson, who's survived everything from PETA runway invasions to flour-bomb attacks on Paris Hilton, and who leaves no rhinestone unturned in his pursuit of glitter and glamour.
Macdonald's version of restrained, of course, extended only as far as sleek, black, bodycon dresses, and zip-fronted outerwear; his customer is a woman, after all, whose day starts sometime round cocktail hour. There was an opium-den tilt to embellished, carved-fur vests, jewel bright Chinoiserie tones and scrolling, lacquer-box embroideries. And the fetishistic undertow - languorous silk dressing gowns, 'Story of O' choker-collars gift-wrapped with chiffon bows, caged corsets, and glistening silver columns that exploded into sheaves of flapper fringe - emphasised a far more literal sense of restraint (and release).