It may not always look it, but a show’s attendees have some pretty hefty responsibilities bearing down on their silk-padded shoulders. How to turn a seemingly cursory detail into a potential hot-seller—or in Giles Deacon’s case, a scorched stretch of fabric into fashion legend. And by gum, it will be done.

The narrative offered a simple scenario about a house fire that hinted at more ominous realities. Its raw material comprised of pinafores, crinolines, dinner jackets, and the high, buttoned collars suggesting aristocratic claustrophobia, and with it the dark possibility that this act of sabotage may have been committed from within.

Giles turned up the heat by subjecting these imperious creations to a deluge of artful abuse—intricate tatters, roped harnesses, all-over prints resembling thorny branches, and enormous singed patches that simultaneously conveyed beauty and destruction. The show was the closest LFW has come to couture, brimming with both a strange, sepulchral tenderness and a wanton excess that would have made Elsa Schiaparelli and Marie Antoinette proud. 

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