Deacon goes back in time to reinvent Daks

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The Independent Online

Presenting his spring collection for the classic British luxury brand Daks yesterday in Milan, Giles Deacon proved that he is looking more like a fully-fledged couturier with every show. Fifties-style tea dresses printed with fuzzy scarlet polka dots and demure necklines were sweetly sophisticated, as were the full skirts and ruffles of the pale pink or black prom dresses that echoed his own collection, shown in London last week to critical acclaim.

Deacon was hired last winter by Daks to rejuvenate the traditional brand. The company, which was founded in 1894, holds three royal warrants but has little fashion cachet. But his first show for the brand, presented last February, was not well received by critics. Yesterday's collection, which echoed some of the macabre motifs he used for his signature line, was for the most part a stronger proposal. And another confident collection from him will add fuel to the rumours that the designer is still considered to be in the running for other, more high-profile jobs heading up a major haute couture house. In the past his name has been connected to vacancies at several houses including Givenchy.

Deacon certainly has a grown-up vision of fashion, despite the in-joke feel to his prints – a print of a chandelier on a chandelier-shaped dress for instance.

A former designer of Bottega Veneta and current British designer of the year, Deacon has developed a signature of dramatic dresses that reference the 1950s glory days of Parisian haute couture, combined with ultra-modern photoprints inspired by nature.

The black and white floral pattern on lace-trimmed silk dresses in yesterday's show actually began life as a photograph the designer took London's Kew Gardens. "The prints are an English country garden as seen through the eyes of a Japanese Manga artist," he said backstage shortly before the Milan show held in the Museo Della Permanente. The 37-year-old designer, who is originally from Co Durham and trained at Central Saint Martins, also cited as inspiration the composer Philip Glass, whose music provided an otherworldly soundtrack to this show. On Monday the focus moves to Paris.