Most young designers fight tooth and nail to show press and buyers that they've grown up, that their approach and organisation is mature, structured and trustworthy and that their aesthetic is developing. Not Agi & Sam, they were revelling in ignorance and innocence for A/W 15. After an off season for S/S 15, it made sense that they were taking stock, rewinding and going back to basics and building blocks. The result? Better. The duo are back on track.
They were channelling a collection Agi Mdumulla had actually designed aged 4, which the pair had discovered on visiting Mdumulla's Yorkshire home. The 'Coolman Collection', as it was called, inspired the duo to get in touch with their old primary schools to chat to kids about the clothes they love wearing. It was an odd approach - on first reading the press notes you wondered if it was a gimmick - but then in recent season it has felt like the pair have got caught up in the melee and become preoccupied with taking on board too many opinions and responding to too many pressures and demands, so maybe it made sense that they're working in a more naive, uncomplicated, visceral fashion via the wisdom of the unspoiled eyes and minds of children. They'd let the kids get their hands on the clothes themselves, allowing them to break up jackets and coats like puzzles and put them back together using velcro. These odd, deformed additions to the collection - which sat alongside regular bits of tailoring and some great ski jackets - were somewhat pointless. Comme did deconstruction first and - naturally, as it's Rei Kawakubo - better.
Even if at points you wondered if it would have made sense to consider the opinion of experts rather than the whims of kids, that focus on exploring the instinctive way we love and admire fashion made for a less fussy, less awkward collection than last season. A friend of Isabella Blow's once told me that the best thing about her ensembles was the way children reacted to them - they didn't think about whether they were rational or appropriate but were just delighted and amused by the colours, the prints and the drama. And while the clothes in this collection lacked the drama or joy to demand such a guttural reaction - they wouldn't cause a scream or squeal - they were jolly enough to raise a smile from buyers.