In our circle of friends we have name for this season's Manning Cartell girl - all short skirts, long legs, big earrings and bigger hair. We call them 'badgals'. They're the ones who party the hardest - and why not in little short suits or geometric bodycon mini dresses with their bandeau bras peeking out - and the ones who really get it all started in the first place. They always know what song to play (Beastie Boys Groove Holmes was playing while guests filed into the show, a real winner) and they look the best dancing to it. They rock a statement lip (for Manning Cartell it was a bright hit of orange) and some truly outsized jewellery. For badgals fashion is a fun, playful thing to be enjoyed rather than over-analysed. And secretly we all want to be one.
For a brand that made its name on event-dressing this collection had a remarkable focus on separates. Shorts were the focus, cast in a veritable candy shop of eye-catching lurex, silky-smooth satin and buttery-soft leather. Manning Cartell is the queen of the short suit, and this season's version offered a buffet of choices; you could pair your shorts with a cropped boxy jacket, a longer-line trapeze coat (in sheer fabrics with geometric applique or in a bold print), with leather toppers or a motorcycle jacket zipped up tight. They're not exactly office-appropriate but that doesn't really matter, not when there are parties to go to. Manning Cartell is seeking to reclaim the formal shorts and also the formal midriff. Some of the best looks paired thigh-skimming shorts with matching crop tops. For the brave and beautiful, it's an ensemble that would really turn heads.
The collection was fun, and youthful, and carefree, which was kind of the point. Sometimes fashion shouldn't be too serious. Badgals aren't worried about things like direction and metaphor, they only want to look good and have a great time. And that's exactly what Manning Cartell caters for.