It's rare to be able to do what the audience at the 1205 show could do this afternoon: to touch, courtesy of the cards placed on every seat, the collection's key fabrics as the models paced the L-shaped runway. High Twist Wool Grid, Technical Featherweight Silk, Pleated Polyester, Waterproof Techno Plume - four navy squares, each representing a particular fabric's type and quality.
By the time they started to actually appear though, halfway through the presentation, the collection's vocabulary had already been clearly established. Long sheets of white voile hung against the body, layered with translucent, rubber-like outerwear. The label's established sense of restraint and precision meant those elements, alongside the quiet grey tailoring which accompanied them (and the navy wools and technical silks, when they arrived) were finely, precisely shaped. But the notion of imbalance, which designer Paula Gerbase highlighted in her notes, offset the rigour with conflicting details - like the brass rectangles pinning sheets of grey linen together, or the cement and grey-green lambskin sheaths which weighted down the collection's linear planes.
Everything felt deeply, completely considered: the positioning of each seam, the minute slants of hems and armholes purposefully placed to maximise the wearer's freedom and range of movement. At times, it was hard not to wonder whether there mightn't be some space for instinct and immediacy midst all the thought and discipline. But afterwards, outside the show, a Japanese woman in a traditional kimono stood speaking with her friends. Vibrant colours aside, it was the same language: long sheets of cloth, thoughtfully placed, and held in place with the geometric folds of an obi. Like 1205's collection, it was simply a different kind of freedom.