At this stage in Giles Deacon's career, his design signature is set in stone—or rather, the crepe that loans itself so well to the Old Hollywood atmos of his clothes. Tick the boxes: formality, eccentricity, glamour, perversity. But such predictability doesn't stop him from entwining those threads in darkly entertaining new ways each season. For his pre-fall collection, Giles was inspired by AtomAge, a cultish British fetish magazine from the seventies that photographed women in leather and rubber against incongruously natural backdrops. Nothing bestows innocence on a model caped in black rubber like propping her against a wooden fence in a farmer's field. Not that Giles was going for a literal reinterpretation. He may have borrowed the classic fetish color palette—black, red, white—but he was more engaged by the cheerfully subversive campiness of the AtomAge ethos, the gleeful wallow in the tension between the proper and the peculiar. Nowhere was it more obvious than in a sheath in an oily black Lurex that held in check a voluminously sleeved blouse in purest white poplin. Just like schoolteacher Miss Jean Brodie, reimagined as a suburban dominatrix. The designer compounded the notion with a dress that could have been a schoolgirl's uniform, except that it was cut from red polyamide and bisected with a long zip.
The same contrast—lurid glam vs. stock-tie priss—appeared elsewhere. It was at its subtlest in a supremely elegant full-sleeved, floor-length, Empire-lined dress whose polka dots were actually a tiny little rendition of the ventilator from a fetish mask. The same pattern dotted a floor-sweeping gown with a bodice corseted over a matching blouse. Adrian himself could scarcely have designed a better outfit for Norma Shearer in 1939's The Women. It's a huge part of Giles' appeal that he has mastered the craft of combining such glamorous propriety with manga-like graphism in the same collection. Quintessential classico-con-twist. Here, he fired a shot of Stephen Sprouse at Old Hollywood, graffitiing a pouty-lipped sex kitten over a vintage Alpine scene (a tip of the cap to the AtomAge outdoors) and printing the extraordinary result on neoprene foam in dressy shapes like an A-line coat and a pencil skirt. Best was a printed sheath dress with a thick horizontal band of red. It looked properly adult.