Though he's a designer whose aesthetic tends to pinball around, Giles Deacon is undoubtedly best known for his baroque gowns—those demi-couture creations lavish with fabric and somehow macabre. To wit, Binx Walton closing the Giles show last season in a gown seemingly made from bats. That's the signature Giles, according to popular opinion. But popular opinion was in for a shock at this evening's show: Once again, Miss Walton did the honors, opening the proceedings by stomping down the runway in lug-soled man's shoes, a collaboration with Grenson, a bird-embroidered tank top, and color-blocked motorcycle pants. It made an impression. So did the chunky oversize knits, and the scarred leather looks, and the little sheath dresses topped by wool tanks in the shape of scythes. The strongest looks here felt streetwise and matter-of-fact. There were also some relatively understated cocktail dresses with a sculptural Giles flourish, like the short black dress with a swathe of white satin draped off to one side.
When things got more baroque—more classic Giles, you might say—the high-speed show lost force. Both the bouffant dress that appeared to be crawling with bugs and even the very polished white-and-black gown that closed the show came off as obligatory and a touch off-message. This was definitely not a show about dressing up. It was a show about motorcycle pants, and stomping around.