We live in the age of the algorithm. The logic of the algorithm is as follows : there is a formula for taste, and the trick is to uncover it. Anyone who likes X and Y will undoubtedly be interested in Z, as well -it’s all perfectly predictable. The thing is, though, algorithms routinely fail. How many times have you been suggested a product on Amazon, based on your previous purchases, that struck you as irrelevant (or even offensive) to your taste ? You should celebrate the miscalculation : your un-scriptable humanity is laid bare in the error. We are never as easy to anticipate as we seem. Tim Coppens’ latest collection was a tribute to human unpredictability. He didn’t intend that; rather, the meaning emerged from the way he ducked and dodged the expected, usually right at the moment when you thought you’d figured out what he was up to. Like last season, this collection drew on his memories of his Nineties-era adolescence, the lazy skateboarding afternoons and post-grunge soundtrack suggested in the slack shapes of pants and the copious use of plaid. What made the collection a more compelling-than-average exercise in nostalgia, however, was its specificity -this wasn’t about anyone’s experience, coming of age in the Nineties, it was about Tim Coppens’, and he touched on a few themes that mattered, back then, specifically to him. The most obvious example of that was his satellite motif, deployed in prints and artful embroideries, but it was also evidenced in the Belgian lilt of his rigorous outerwear and in touches like the dappling of a soft salmon color that was, he explained before the show, inspired by a particular shot in Dazed & Confused of Eminem. Tim Coppens also said before the show that he was more focused, this time out, on creating great individual pieces than on making some large conceptual point. And virtually every item here seemed closely attended to, whether via the addition of detail, like the lacing on the back of a satin bomber, or the subtraction of it, as in a perfectly pared-down olive wool coat from the capsule-sized range of womenswear. These clothes will have a productive life on the sales floor. On the runway, though, the collection as a whole came off as something less than the sum of its very good parts. The designer’s strong point of view, and the sharp touch he brought to his best pieces, was swamped by too much layering and the inclusion of too many items, such as hoodies, that de-elevated the collection’s tone. The menswear was strong enough to escape unscathed, but Tim Coppens is still finding his footing with the womenswear, and it required a cleaner presentation. The exception to that rule was his exemplary outerwear, where his deft tailoring shone through. He has the makings of a major designer -with a little editing, his winning unpredictability will be in plain view.