DESIGNERS: Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig for Marchesa
INSPIRATION: Miss Havisham
WHO WAS THERE: Irina Lazareanu, Vanessa Hudgens, Eve, Ashanti, Michelle Trachtenberg, Olivia Palermo, Petra Nemcova and Tinsley Mortimer
TOP LOOKS: Porcelain tulle bateau-neck dress, with shoulder flares spilling onto the floor; blush tulle column with flared ruffle skirt and shoulder appliqué; embroidered cream strapless cocktail wedding dress with high tulle headpiece; black lace corset dress with embroidered tulle skirt and black capelet
ACCESSORIES: Christian Louboutin netted ankle-strap pumps that were so high the models were nearly fainting. (Which suited the Victorian theme.) Metal jewellery shaped into beds of dark-gray flowers by Miriam Haskell, wrapped around ears and wrists. Bags by Marchesa.
WHAT WE THOUGHT: The Dickensian inspiration extended to more than just the clothes. Languid girls as brides or widows, in black veils, elaborate lace dresses and pooled velvet skirts had a consumptive pallor and were being tended to with water and stabilising hands. The only things missing were smelling salts and fainting couches. Was it a case of the vapours? More like precipitously high shoes (Louboutin loves a little S&M) and a close environment packed with celebrities with evening hair at 4 p.m., talking heads, hangers on, cameras and flashbulbs. Can we blame them?
Marchesa clothes are beyond-one's-imagination beautiful. Chapman and Craig can only top themselves, and they manage to do it every season. We loved this dramatic literary meditation: veils, puddles of fabric from fishtail hems, romantic goth-techno jewelry, little brides everywhere. There were shocks of crimson (to match the red carpet?), in an otherwise black, white and pastel collection. For autumn, we see that Miss Havisham's great expectations are finally met, not dashed at all.