Julien Macdonald preceded his London catwalk show yesterday by threatening defection to Milan Fashion Week next season. "It is a glamorous place and I'm a glamorous designer," he said.
Macdonald, who has been described as "the Welsh Donatella Versace" put plenty of spangle and glitter into his new collection but it is unlikely that any of the metallic pussycat bow blouses and cable-knit tank tops which dominated his catwalk last night will convince his celebrity clientele.
British television stars and pop princesses come to Macdonald for his flesh baring slithers of frock otherwise known as dressless straps which inevitably see them splashed across front pages. Macdonald did, in fact, close his autumn presentation, held at the former Saatchi Gallery in north-west London, with a clutch of black jersey show stoppers that were on more familiar territory. But, overall, this was a peculiarly restrained collection. It did not suit him. Macdonald is perhaps playing safe while his professional future remains undecided. Next month in Paris, he will present what many in the fashion industry assume will be his last ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy.
Macdonald's contract as head designer is due for renewal in April but his three-year tenure with the LVMH-controlled label has, so far, been stricken by bad reviews. At last month's haute couture show, Givenchy banned many regular fashion journalists from attending, sparking rumours of a damage limitation exercise ahead of Macdonald's departure.
Also at London Fashion Week yesterday, an independent home-grown fashion label was celebrating 20 years at the top. Ghost, the creation of the designer Tanya Sarne, showed a beautifully judged new autumn-winter collection.
Petrol blue and plum shirt dresses or casual blousons in the label's signature georgette fabrics had insouciant appeal. They were paired with tight jeans for a Seventies look, which never became too heavy-handed. Dresses with empire lines moved with fluidity around models' bodies. This collection also picked up on the emergent trends for subdued colours, such as lilac or chestnut brown. But there was also a healthy dose of glamour. Panne velvet, satin and panels of sequins were used for the sequence of floor-length evening dresses that closed the show.