PARIS--“Haven’t we met before?” was the first thing Giles Deacon said to me as we chatted backstage after the show. I told him that yes, we had indeed met, but in far less glamorous circumstances, when I bartended in East London as a student, and pulled him a pint or two. “You must have made me lots of drinks then!” he said with a laugh. That sums up Giles Deacon in a sentence: unafraid to have a good time, whether in a crumby pub or at the Italian Embassy, where his second Ungaro show was held.
The collection was definitely better suited to a cocktail at the embassy than a beer in a dive bar: Giles presented a fearlessly sexual woman--a Playboy bunny at times, a dominatrix at others. Referring to Ungaro’s famous comment that he "dresses mistresses rather than wives," Deacon borrowed and condensed all codes of sexuality and taboo onto one catwalk.
This consisted of hair slicked back and held together by patent strips, latex dresses, leather and lace pieces, and visible underwear under sheer skirts. A dress had a zip starting at the neck, along the back and right into the model’s behind; this was followed by turquoise and bright pink fur coats, bustiers, and also a recurrent use of sequined animals on the chest, a tad more Giles than Ungaro.
“The Ungaro woman is fun and sexy, she gets out of fabulous cars and goes to brilliant restaurants,” he said. “She’s definitely more obviously sexual than my own line.”
The Ungaro woman, historically and even more so today, is a consciously sexy and sexual one--an interesting move away from the Parisian women’s taste for understatement.
**All images: Imaxtree.