Giles Deacon has never been a designer short on whimsy. And though he brought plenty of that whimsy to bear on his Resort collection, he's also seized on the opportunity to prove that he can do solid, salable clothes, with just the right balance of sweet and vicious. Picking up where he left off with last season's court-themed collection, which featured a print taken from Delaroche's The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, Deacon adapted Rococo artist Jean-Marc Nattier's painting of the Marquise d'Antin for another print, using it on several pieces. The twilight-toned motif was particularly winning on the simplest silhouettes, like a floor-length skirt of bias-cut silk satin or an A-line shift pleated in the back. (The print also made for a punchy accent to white shirting, a new and overtly commercial initiative.)

Deacon stayed mum when asked whether he was making a political point with the Nattier and Delaroche references—maybe, one wonders, there's something rocking around in Deacon's head about class struggle and a new age of aristocracy. Or maybe not, but he did point out that women don't seem to be coming to him for, as he put it, "work clothes." At any rate, ladies who lunch will find plenty to like here, from his unbelievably lightweight, tailored peplum jackets, with coordinating cigarette pants or pencil skirts, to the fitted sheath with a neoprene mesh inset that just winks at vampy. The neoprene, used generously, was a nice touch, giving otherwise fine-boned looks a bit of muscle. Another major element—a big check with Lurex threaded into it—will be very much to some people's taste and read as garish by others. Of course, it would be disappointing to find Giles playing it entirely safe.