Sexy doesn't have to be about stripping off. For proof of that, one need look no further than the Giles collection - probably the most covered show we've seen all fashion week, and certainly the sexiest. Sexy is perhaps the wrong word - Deacon's kick this season was kink, whether than be the 'Tarts and Vicars' contradiction of a frilled pie-crust collar blouse worn under a sinuous, backless silk-satin frock, or the trussed-up feti-chic of a boned sheath-dress in calf-skin so fine the models nipples were plainly visible.
The inspiration was rather more abstract - as ever with Giles Deacon, one of those designers who can seize on sources as disparate as Victorian hysteria, 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' by Paul Delaroche and Allen Jones' needle-heeled vixens and synthesise it into a compelling creative vision. This season, Deacon's lynchpin was the idea of 'austere, not austerity.' Sounds like a bit of wordplay around the minimalist cant we've been hearing for the past two seasons but Deacon's interpretation was much richer. It encompassed woollen wasp girdles, liturgical embroideries and rich paisley prints, ankle-length skirts swirling around the figure like an Aubrey Beardsley illustration and a couple of cloque ballgowns that would have put Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn to shame.
There's also a common visual language between those ideas, which is why they worked so well. Deacon saw the martyred Lady Grey with fetishists eyes - and her countenance looked rather kinky printed across a few ankle-length silken frocks. The pointy-point stiletto shoes and bandage-bondage leather was pushing the dominatrix factor, the best example being a neat fifties skirt suit that married 'Mad Men' with 'Silence of the Lambs' in flesh-coloured kidskin. And all that goat reminded one of the seduction-versus-revulsion implicit in Meret Oppenheim's 'Fur Breakfast'.
It's possible I'm reading too much into Deacon's show, but in a season rather barren of hidden meaning it was a joy to find a collection that effortlessly managed the tricky balancing-act of being so thought out, richly-referenced and intricately layered without becoming laboured in the slightest.