Emanuel Ungaro famously said, "I dress mistresses, not wives." The proverbial other woman seemed to be Giles Deacon's target audience with his second collection for the legendary but beleaguered house. The flirt of last season's debut , with her pastels, feather headdresses, and Volkswagens tricked out with daisies for props has been edged out by someone with an all-around more aggressive look. Yes, there were still a few sweet spots (a rich green tweed; pink and blue fox chubbies), but the new Ungaro woman is a tough broad.
To prove it, the one extra she never parted with day or night was a metal-accented leather collar. It accessorized the opening strapless black jumpsuit and its long-sleeve lace underlay, the sculpted domino sequin embroidered gown that closed the show, and many of the corseted or molded leather cocktail dresses in between. Driving home the idea that she was on the prowl were the wolf and the bird of prey picked out in Lesage embroidery on shrunken black sweatshirts (the Ungaro and Givenchy gals are part of the same fashion pack, this season at least).

Sharing the runway with those dense Lesage embroideries was yard after yard of exquisite Solstiss lace, pieced together like a geometric jigsaw puzzle on a narrow, zip-front dress, and, more salaciously, on leave-nothing-to-the-imagination thigh-scraping minidresses. The draping and lush colors that Ungaro was known for were mostly absent today, save for a few blown-up wing-print unstructured silk dresses. Reinventing a founder's work isn't the only way to move a heritage brand into the future, but Deacon's sexpot doesn't necessarily look like the way forward either.