The tale Giles Deacon began to spin for Fall was that of a stately country home accidentally ablaze on an arctic winter's night. "I just had this idea of someone rushing out of a beautiful house," Deacon said backstage before the show. "It's burning down, and what are you going to take?"
One very acceptable answer to that could be these clothes. This collection yielded some truly beautiful things, romantic with macabre bite, pumped up by a couturier's eye for detail. What's impressive is how they fit Deacon's new direction of well-made clothes for women of means, while still nestled comfortably into the narrative at hand.
Deacon set the darkly enchanted tone with the first exit: a high club-collared tuxedo accessorized by a menacing black plumed scarecrowlike helmet—this season's version of Spring's swan headpieces, also made by Stephen Jones. He quickly segued from governess strictness to lady-of-the-house softness. A painterly print echoed a burnt tapestry; it was cut into a chiffon blouse, tucked into a matching skirt of sharply razored organza ruffles that spilled dyed-to-match feathers at its hem. The thorns from Deacon's frozen garden were transformed into laser-cut satins and a rich metallic lace. And in this fairy tale an icy blue brocade tapestry—populated, if you looked closely, with unicorns and other mythical creatures—seemed to have been ripped from the wall and transformed, through some sort of fashion wizardry, into a strapless mullet-skirted dress or an evening jacket to elegantly cover up a burnt and water-stained tulle gown. Catastrophe was rarely so chic. And though the collection might have skewed a bit prim and proper for those who love Deacon's antic side, inside it still burned with a magical and mischievous spirit.