Like a house on fire. Giles Deacon brought new, fashionable meaning to that expression, imagining a manor up in flames and asking what its occupants might claim as their most treasured possessions. Well, their evening finery, naturally.

A scorched invitation summoned guests to The Stationers’ Hall, a storied livery company for the book and publishing industry whose history stretches back to medieval times. Some of Deacon’s bulbous gowns, with unicorns frolicking on the heavy brocade fabrics, recalled the era. But his cast of characters wore a variety of looks, from handsome tuxedos and tailcoats to fishtail gowns in laser-cut satin or thorn-bush lace. Deacon got too carried away with burn motifs, embroidering them onto ballgowns and torching real holes into satin jackets and chiffon skirts. He cooled things down with beautiful frost motifs, etched, for instance, in Swarovski crystals over the sheer bodice of a printed evening dress.

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