Googly-eyes affixed to invites? A giant Pac-Man ghost in luminous pink at the entrance and yellow dots from the cult eighties arcade game snaking around the venue? All the signs indicated that the Giles show would be so, so wrong. Right? Wrong. Giles Deacon's collection was one of the best he has ever shown, and the arcade-inspired irreverence was a huge part of it.
Humour has always been an essential ingredient of this label's appeal: the women who buy Giles' carefully-crafted gowns do so because they come with a little edge, a knowing wink, a nudge of irony. Sometimes this has been a nudge too far, but sometimes - like tonight - the balance is perfect. Pac-Man was, indeed, the starting-point, but as always with Giles, the trip he takes throws up multilayered references that could only have originated from his fertile mind. Accordingly, thinking about pop culture directed Giles to Pop Art, resulting in multi-spot prints reminiscent of Warhol and a touch of S&M by way of Allen Jones. Warhol too surrendered the pastel camo, which alongside fetishistic shoes, leather-brimmed caps and fabulous, brutal Swarovski-crystal encrusted bullets added to a tough-chic appeal, underlined by quilted erogenous zones, zips and an assured use of leather. After all, Pac-Man was at war (of sorts) with those ghosts. The way Giles addressed, readdressed and most importantly dressed this theme was truly inspired, from the surreal comedy of metallic Pac-Man and Ghost helmets worn with stunning evening gowns, to subtle choices of colour and detail that gave those all-important winks to the concept. When a series of firm wool-jersey dresses bipped out in the colourways of Pac-Man ghosts Shadow, Speedy, Bashful and Pokey, you didn't need to Wikipedia the reference to know they were marvellous.
There were shades of his sublimely confident early-noughties outings for Bottega Veneta in the bright primaries, graphic perspex earrings and tough biker touches, but Giles has never toyed so deftly with these ideas before. Thrown into the heady mix, amongst others, were patent, PVC, satin, laser-cut silk flowers, body-armour, tailored tyvek, zibeline capes, contrast fins popping at already-popped shoulderlines. It was nigh-on impossible to chart all the textures, colours and details crammed into the clothes that whizzed so fluidly and effortlessly by. What this rich equation all added up to was a parade of some of the most assured, witty and creative clothes we have seen this season to date.