The word that kept coming back to Giles Deacon when he reflected on his pre-fall collection was "haughty." And there was definitely something about the structure, the solidity, and the pulled-together polish of the outfits that brought to mind an old-school society dame, someone like Helena Rubinstein, who inspired Giles' very first collection eight years ago. These were unambiguous clothes for women d'un certain âge. The designer said that was a follow-on from the response to his Fall collection, where store buyers could understand exactly who the customer was: "a woman with money who wants posh frocks," as he put it. If that implied a distinct formality, then that's exactly what Giles gave his woman. A typical piece was a short, hyper-tailored jacket flared into a pleated peplum and paired with a pencil skirt. Another short jacket was draped with a trompe l'oeil portrait neckline. It could have stepped straight out of a Park Avenue salon in the early fifties, just like the full-skirted cocktail dress. Even the shift shapes that fell straight to big ruffled hems had a retro weightiness. That impression was compounded by the substantial fabrics: black wool crepe and icy lilac poly duchesse.

It was almost a relief to light upon the airier end of the collection, however weirdly an ice cream orange knit shrug sat next to that lilac duchesse. Keeping himself busy in airports, Giles has been doodling colorful figures—they looked like manga dolly birds—on his iPad, and these were turned into whimsical multiples for a print on silk lounging pajamas and a side-draped shift. Single figures were isolated and enlarged on silk T-shirts, sure to be big sellers. Giles has often injected cartoonish whimsy into his collections (there were a few of Stephen Jones' Pac-Man helmets around the studio as reminders), but he acknowledged it hasn't always sat comfortably with his more serious pieces. Here, however, his electric stick figures were a welcome alternative to posh frocks.