'I wanted it to be a dark summer,' said Giles Deacon of his show last night, 'not a happy-go-lucky floral thing'. He’d been thinking of bats, he continued: 'I really like bats. Everyone seems to. I'm obsessed with bat swarms.' And swarm they did: inky black across strapless dresses with overblown skirts, their little faces stamped onto a leather tunic and even flying right into Cara Delevingne's face in the form of a big and beautiful bat hat courtesy of the milliner, Stephen Jones.
The mid-Nineties revival currently at play right across the board was in evidence here too, though Giles treated it in a typically specific and idiosyncratic way. Each look, however grand – and this designer is master of the modern big entrance gown - was worn with that retro sportswear staple, a pair of Adidas Gazelles. We all want them. Prints, meanwhile, were taken from Polaroids courtesy of the photographer Glen Luchford from that period. Amber Valletta (Luchford shot her for Prada way back when), Amanda de Cadenet, Guinevere and Kate Moss appeared on fine silk columns suspended from fragile straps and light, almost casual, satin dresses gathered at the waist with bands of elastic.
Giles first saw these images on Instagram. ‘I was a big fan of Instagram right from the start,’ he explained, ‘and then Glen pops up on it one day – I’ve known him for years – and starts putting up all these unpublished Polaroids. I thought they were brilliant and asked him if we could use them.’
There is a dark, grainy character to the photographs well-suited to a subtly melancholic mood. Giles being Giles, though, there was always going to be a joyful spirit not to mention considerable wit at play alongside. With that in mind, candy pink silk brocades, lip prints and embroideries borrowed from the artist Donald Robertson lifted the proceedings to an ultimately bright, happy if always marginally twisted place.