Finally Giles Deacon is living up to his hype. For fall, he whipped himself out of his complacent groove as a young London designer who reveres "lady couture," and delivered something splashy, quirky, and colorfully original.

Part of the show's punch was in the bold stripes, dots, gigantic leopard spots, fluorescents, Lurex, patent leather, and holograms he used—in marked contrast to the somber wintry palettes that have been depressing the mood elsewhere. Another plus was in his silhouettes: fifties and sixties shifts and trapezes, hourglass eighties dresses, and—new to him—flowy poncho tops over easy pants. Deacon said he'd been inspired by the paintings of Ellsworth Kelly, as well as "a healthy feeling that I wanted to throw everything out and look for contemporary modernism."

But you don't need a fashion or art history degree to respond to Deacon. It hardly matters that he researched his patterns in the Tate in St. Ives, or that references to Cardin can be caught along the way. What does count is that the results—seamed and patched together into arty, optically vivid effects—don't look like any reverent rehash of the past. It's taken a few seasons to get there, but now that Deacon has found the nerve to say what he believes in, he's turning into something interesting.