Power Seraphim & Shanghai Dolls at Julien Macdonald S/S ’12

by Katie on September 25, 2011

Julien Macdonald (or ‘Macdonatella’ as TeamChutzpah and I refer to him) is a staple ‘big’ show on the London Fashion Week circuit. If it weren’t for his connection to Debenhams and their ilk, no doubt his name and pull would be even bigger, but the latter probably provides a much needed cash injection to the business that allows Julien’s creativity to flutter and flirt and sometimes, just sometimes, get it so right it works and you’re left reminding yourself that all the fuss about him in the beginning was justified.


This season, Julien was transparent in more than his luxurious and intricate see-through shifts by doffing his cap to the newly awaking and lucrative Chinese market by staging a collection which he based allegedly on superyachts but seemed entirely to consist of power Seraphim and Shanghai dolls in the mould of Grace Jones meets her maker.

This worked enormously for evening wear jaw dropingly gorgeous concoctions that whispered ‘Chinese Banker’s wife’ and strolled down the catwalk in a power glide. Bright yellow silk drapes with spaghetti straps, silver grey fluid drapes with bold silver belts and finely sheer net embroidered shifts with wing motifs and detailing spoke of Julien’s mastery with evening wear.  Darkly sexy black sheer and sharply shouldered gowns appealed to the exotic and Julien threw in a number of workable, sexy cocktail versions for Miss Shanghaii to prop up the the casino bar. 

There is still no doubt that when Julien does glamour, he does it supremely well, it’s his constant foray into daywear that he has a problem convincing us of. Chinese Ming prints, bonded jersey, leather biker dresses and satin day dresses seemed to jar instead of rounding the collection, like two parts of an insubstantial whole.  


Sharp geometric detailing on busy prints accessorised with Porsche type sunglasses and a Chinese military air didn’t work for this writer, nor did the sheer chiffon shorts paired with a beige day tuxedo jacket with severe black lapels. Knits were far too busy to be sophisticated and its the latter which should be his strength not his weakness. But when Julien stuck to his trademark simple shifts, full on glitz and power women, his Seraphim offered him divine retribution.


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