Deacon makes a fluorescent pink dress look sophisticated

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The Independent Online

Deacon has been one of the most hotly tipped designers in London for several seasons, and as unlikely as it sounds, he can make a puffball dress in neon-bright animal prints look sophisticated. Staged in a starkly modern office block in Bloomsbury, this show concentrated on party dresses with the only concession to daywear being an ink-blue leather parka coat.

It's hard to imagine on what occasion a woman might want to wear a fluorescent pink wool dress with rectangular shoulderpads. From early in his career Deacon professed a desire to dress older women. This time, though, he said he wanted "something super-clean and young".

Elsewhere in London, some of the best independent designers edged towards a more womanly vision of dressing for autumn/winter. What is refreshing though is that not once did this ageing process result in boring or straightforwardly conservative clothes.

In the case of the Danish designer Peter Jensen, a razor-sharp sense of irony stops sophisticated clothes from looking stuffy. On the face of it, muses don't come more bourgeois than Helena Rubinstein, the late doyenne of the cosmetics industry, who Jensen yesterday cited as inspiration for his body-skimming tartan skirt suits and bottle-green layered chiffon dresses. With his models draped in fake emerald necklaces and plastic pearls, this show was a gentle parody of the haute couture worn by Rubinstein. Yet Jensen was also wise enough to turn out some great interpretations of the classics, such as a grey tweed trouser suit with slim trousers or the eternally chic little black dress, here given a panel of tiny pleats at the hem.

"Casual glamour," was the simple explanation that Emma Cook gave for her sophisticated chiffon dresses, which were printed with gorgeous art-nouveau patterns that suggested lace and daisies. By casual, Cook means a silk dress or satin coat with a fluid A-line silhouette. And glamour came in lurex minidresses - the glitzy fabric is turning out to be a trend for next season - and stunning ornamentation on a final sequence of mushroom-coloured duchess satin slip dresses, where slithers of broken antique mirror were arranged in mosaic patterns at the hem or neckline.

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