Tuesday, 24 March 2009

An evening with ‘Giles’ Deacon

After spending an amazing evening at the V&A (Victoria & Albert) Museum in London listening to a talk with the iconic and influential designer Giles Deacon, I thought it was only fair to share some of what I heard and learnt with all you Fabricjam devotees!

Known as ‘Giles’ in the industry, Mr Deacon is arguably the very best contemporary fashion designer today. With a British Designer of the year award under his belt as well as counting Tom Ford, Katie Grand and Kate Moss as his friends, Giles has established himself as a solid part in the framework of London Fashion.

The former Bottega Veneta designer was born in Cumbria, North West England, a beautiful and predominantly rural county. His surroundings weren’t necessarily linked to fashion or style at all therefore having an awareness of trends wasn’t of any importance to Giles whilst growing up. It was only when he picked up his first copy of the contemporary style and design magazine i-D as a teenager that he realised the appeal of clothes as a construct.

The 80’s band scene was a musical era Giles was surrounded by and also very interested in. Looking back at various 80’s bands in copies of the i-D mag, all dressed in Vivienne Westwood’s creations you can see why his interest was evoked.

“It gave me an aesthetic awareness”

Giles was keen to stress the point that for him designing is a very personal thing and in that respect, any ideas must come from within, however insignificant they may seem and regardless of whether the ideas fit with the ‘fashionable’ colour or fabric for that season. It is this raw quality about Giles that makes his designs so appealing and fascinatingly unique.

It was at London’s Central Saint Martins (the epicentre of British fashion) that Giles took his place to study in the late 1980’s. This decision was to prove a very successful career move as it was there that he met Katie Grand (pictured below left), the most powerful stylist around today and a former consultant at Prada who served to boost his career. It was Deacons personal and professional relationship with Grand that bagged him the job at Bottega Veneta, the Italian luxury leather goods company best known for its shoes and bags.

‘The designers at Bottega offered for me to ring up for an interview so I did and that was that. Doing that type of thing was very 80’s.’

Despite working his magic on the brand for a year and helping the company launch a ready-to-wear line of clothing, the Gucci group already had other ideas and in 2001 announced that they were to buy Bottega Veneta. Giles, who was now a recognised designer, was swiftly replaced by Tomas Maier, a German designer whose background was of a more classical style.

However, Giles’s talent did not go unnoticed and realising his innovative ideas Tom Ford, head of Gucci at the time snapped him up for the Gucci women's-wear label. Giles’s time at Gucci came to an end in 2002 when he decided he wanted to go it alone and create his own label. He was set on London being the base for what was to become a fashion phenomenon.

‘I was so keen for London to be the launch place; it seemed the right atmosphere for the type of clothes I wanted to create and compared to New York and Paris, the clothes are so unusual and quirky.’

Two years down the line and a whole lot of logistics worked out, Giles showcased his first runway collection for Autumn/Winter in 2004 at London Fashion Week which was met with great acclaim. It was the first of many collections to come which have transformed London each season.
Hearing Giles describe the design process behind his label was interesting and highly compelling, giving a unique insight into the working mind of such a creative genius. The most unusual yet intriguing aspect was the fact that his design team who ‘are a solid bunch’ often design the accessories like the shoes and hats before designing the clothing as he finds inspiration from different sections of the collection. He told us that sometimes the pieces are still being made in the week leading up to the shows!

Whatever work ethic Giles and his business team choose to employ, there is no doubting that the ‘playfulness’ of fashion that once attracted him has helped him turn his love for clothes into a designing domain. His subversive but obtainable, high-end creations are a must for every woman wanting that extra bit of confidence.

The most recent Autumn/Winter ’09 collection appeared to be a step up from his previous work, with famous models being mixed with random girls from a street casting walking the catwalk together and all adding to the maturity of the pieces which were inspired from his time at London Central Saint Martins in the 80’s.

With spikes, animal print, suede and metallic’s all overlapping each other, it was an unquestionably strong collection and one that certainly highlights the phenomenon that is Giles.

Luckily for us, this budding designer has no intention of going anywhere at the moment as he is happy with the success of ‘Giles’, however he did say that if a ‘good, solid brand’ approached him in the future then he would consider it.

For the moment though, let’s enjoy and embrace the quirky, statement pieces that Giles keeps rolling out and be grateful that such a unique designer really is so down to earth.

To view Giles’s current collection plus his previous one, log on to Style.com Giles Deacon
Post by Katie Powell, London Fashion PR exec.
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1 comment:

hanban11 said...

I’ve seen that this charity auction website has got Disney ‘Mickey Ears’ up for auction designed by celebrities and designers including Daisy Lowe, Giles Deacon, Luella Bartley, Henry Holland and Geri Halliwell to help raise money for charity. The Mickey Ears are being exhibited in Brix Smith-Start’s boutique START, London. Here’s the link if anyone wants a look,