Veronique Branquinho chose the library of the Automobile Club of France as the venue for her show, and that granddaddy of a location set the stage for the designer's spin on the wardrobe of a gentleman of a certain age. Presumably there was meant to be some irony involved in the endeavor, but with Tommy James and The Shondells on the sound track, Branquinho captured the style of a particular species of aging groover with an all-too-literal accuracy. A brown corduroy blouson with a smartly flared pair of herringbone slacks needed only a single-malt scotch and logs on the fire to complete the picture of the “modern” man at rest.
“Honni soit qui mal y pense” was Branquinho’s theme. Don’t laugh ! It’s the motto of the oldest knighthood in the world, Britain’s Most Noble Order of the Garter, and it means “Shamed be he who thinks evil of it”. Maybe the designer was anticipating criticism. Prince Charles is the numero uno Knight of the Garter, and he might be the right customer for these clothes -except that in reality he'd never opt a pair of Branquinho’s zipped-ankle trousers or her pinstriped jacket with a knitted lapel.
As it happened, this last item showed that the designer has the ability to mutate the classics so that they resonate in the here and now. On the other hand, it was hard to know what to make of a bottle-green velour sweatshirt with Lurex-striped cuffs. Such an item might have descended from Planet Abba, and it was hard not to think shameful thoughts about it.