London Fashion Week has come and gone. And, it's a bit like Groundhog Day because this season, yet again, everyone has been eagerly (and vocally) anticipating Giles Deacon's latest turn down the catwalk.
You never know what to expect with Giles. Unlike many other designers, he isn't overly focused on his "signature", the technique/look that a designer develops over his or her career to the point of near perfection, for which he or she becomes famous. Sometimes, a signature can lead to being pigeon-holed, but for a man with the creative depth and flexibilty as Giles, this is out of the question. Maybe its because Giles seems to be able to execute so well on so many different styles. One season it will be Elsworth Kelly's geometric colours and the next it will be tight, sexy leopard prints. Why be known for one thing when he is so good at so many things? Giles' way of getting around this, I think, is that he knows exactly who is designing for, where she will wear his clothes, and why.
With hype like this, and with Christopher Kane nipping at his heels for the title of the reigning King of LFW, there was much pressure on Giles to come up with the goods yet again. All the signs of the dizzying heights of expectation were there:
- The sometimes pushy, sometimes friendly, eager jostling outside his show. Sharp elbows indeed.
- The PRs outside were (politely) telling more than one person, "I am really sorry, but you're not on the list." People responded with everything in the book: "But I have been working on this show for months", "But I am with Teen Vogue", "But Giles told me to come".
- Celebrities, fashion icons, buyers and editors packed the front row: Anna Piaggi, Thandie Newton, Jefferson Hack with Anouck Lepere, Lisa Armstrong, Suzy Menkes, Cathy Horyn, Hamish Bowles, Julie Gilhart, Ken Downing, Michael Fink, and more.
The sense of expectation was palpable, and people were literally sitting on the floor and security just gave up on trying to have people clear the aisles. So with all this pressure, the show finally began at 9:00pm.
Would Giles deliver?
It was all about birds of a feather. Giles worked with famous milliner Stephen Jones to create some of the most arresting (and yes, not commercial, but who cares?) headpieces to hit the catwalk, and given the number of hats we have been seeing this season, he had some serious competition. The collection started with leather and shearling pieces and slowly morphed into thick, heavy knits styled over top of more wearable dresses and skirts, followed by vivid short green and orange dresses that will definitely do the rounds of the celebrity party circuit, and finally into the feathery flights of fancy with some eye-catching couture-style pieces, which seemed to float down the runway. In short, he did it again and the ovation at the end of the show (captured on the video below) underlined yet another creative coup for Giles.
Here are some shots from before, during and after the show.
Postscript: So what of the business?
What remains to be seen is how Giles takes all of this talent and potential and commercialises it. Yes, there is the creative directorship of Daks and the new capsule Gold collection for New Look. But, methinks there is more up Giles' sleeve, feathered as it is with peacock plumes. Some designers seem to really want to build businesses and spend years building the necessary foundations for long-term commercial success. Others, focus on showcasing the lengths of their creative talents, hoping to be picked up as a creative director of an esteemed Parisian fashion house. Some, of the rarest breed, even manage to do both.