February 22, 2009
An unidentified, aggressive raw noise greeted the audience at Giles Deacon's show, a scene-setter for a collection that was obviously intended to shake up the normal order of predictable runway behavior. The show started with eighties supermodel Rachel Williams in a gray flannel bustier dress with shearling gauntlets, threateningly clutching chains in her fists—a sign that something feistier than usual was going on, though quite what only became clear once Deacon had his say at the end. "I just thought I wanted to go back to what got me into fashion in the first place," he said. "I graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1992 and I wanted to recapture all of the fun we had playing with things in those days. So the collection is a revisiting of all the things of my own that I've liked—and hopefully an improvement on them." The women walking for Deacon were a mixture of former fashion heroines and street-cast locals from Camden. Not that anyone really looked that rough and angry—this is a show where Katie Grand's styling always lends international polish. As for clothes, the sequence of Deacon's favorite moments would only be really legible to his nearest and dearest. Few others would realize that the circular leather skirt came from his graduate show, or that the fly-fishing printed dress hooked onto the fact that the other side of Deacon is a country-loving boy from Cumbria, or that the giant knits at the end were a reprise of something he did 18 months ago. It was, in other words, a random affair, and a somewhat puzzling exercise in solipsism for anyone who expects fashion to move relentlessly onward.