Who says you can't wear a tiger pattern and be devastatingly chic? Demonstration was made at Les Copains that you can happily mix sporty influences - hot on Milanese runways this season - and a jungle theme, yet still come out looking polished. As the scent developed with Florentine perfumer Dr Vranjes wafted through the gilded rooms of Palazzo Clerici, it was clear that Stefania Bandiera, the new creative director, wants to expand the brand in more ways than the runway.
It started slowly with a palette of neutrals and summer weight fabrics, piquing interest through variations of tone on tone intarsia, before moving onto more directional styling of this wardrobe. The deep green foliage knit had polish and understatement that will weather trend cycling. Elsewhere the tribal elements that informed graphic patterns were more than a footnote. Intricate laser cuts on a leather dress felt elegant, simply sleek. The collection left a dressy impression that was underscored by occasional sparkle, and the softened sharpness of the cuts.
Les Copains has suffered over the years of a revolving door of designers; the latest, Scotsman Graeme Black, only logged one season. Stefania Bandiera, who had previously been part of the in-house design team, is married to the house's head. Tapping into the underlying current of simplicity, this latest collection will no doubt perform well commercially, and set Les Copains back on an upward trajectory of continuity.