The message would have to come from the garments; due to a scheduling conflict, Susana Clayton wasn’t in Paris to present her debut collection for Joseph.
They spoke for themselves. Clayton had clearly done her homework and crafted a sturdy lineup that relayed the label’s particular breed of chic, British cool. A laser focus on trousers turned up an array of surefire staples — flattering waists, luxurious fabrics, slightly flared. Knitwear was chunky and oversize, yet sleek, including a handsome cape-shawl topped with a turtleneck, as well as the widest scarf ever — with yarn fringes. Moving down the rack, each piece, it seemed, called for individual consideration — the simplicity conveyed by a new, streamlined approach. Tailoring was sharp, but also purified, and Clayton skimmed the collars off of some pieces, including the coats. Leather work was another strong point, and the collection included well-cut burgundy trousers and a tunic dress. Also striking was a black, goat hair coat.
This was a strong debut, and a well-managed segue from the previous designer, Louise Trotter, who has moved to Lacoste. Relaying the label’s past strength — trousers! — Clayton also managed to spin it forward nicely.