Giles Deacon had the confidence to harness the best of British spirit with relish and wit. In his debut collection, called Giles, he managed to marry a slightly peculiar, uptight-seventies-lady look—all nipped-waist suits, pussycat-bow blouses, and flowing printed gowns—with homegrown English craft. Deacon, 34, graduated from Central St. Martin's ten years ago with Hussein Chalayan and has spent the intervening years freelancing, with stints at Bottega Veneta and Gucci. So why choose London as a launchpad? "I live here. I love it," he said. "There's such a lot going on here if you dig around."

Deacon's international experience shows in the polish of his silhouettes—and in the roster of supermodels (Nadja Auermann and Eva Herzigova among them) who wore his precision-cut wide-shouldered jackets, pencil skirts, cashmere tank tops, and fan-pleated skirts. That, plus the deliberately chosen materials—hand-loomed bespoke jacquards, custom-made psychedelic woodland prints commissioned from the Glasgow School of Art, luxe Linton tweed from Scotland, and leather accessories, molded into the shape of stag beetles by artist-craftsman Justin Capp—gave the show what Deacon calls "a slightly odd, misplaced chicness." With its underlying thread of perversity (covered-up dresses that showed intriguing flashes of garter and seamed stockings) and just a hint of trippiness offsetting the very sensible, Deacon's collection put down a marker for a new English look.