Giles Dea­con: the man and his muses

As he teams up with ac­ces­sories brand Aspinal of Lon­don, de­signer Giles Dea­con tells Laura An­to­nia Jor­dan about the women who have fired his imag­i­na­tion

Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

it’s im­pos­si­ble to pi­geon­hole the Giles Dea­con woman. Pippa Mid­dle­ton com­mis­sioned the cou­ture de­signer to make her wed­ding dress (and showed of an un­ex­pect­edly fun side with the heart-shaped cut-out), but so did Abbey Clancy. Sarah Jes­sica Parker and Solange made mem­o­rable turns on the Met Gala red car­pet in his de­signs, but dis­creet busi­ness women are also his core clien­tele. His part­ner, Gwen­do­line Christie, has looked as out­ra­geously good in a lan­guid emer­ald green py­jama set as she does in a bomb­shell gown. ‘I’m very lucky to dress an in­ter­est­ing cross-sec­tion of women,’ he agrees. And now Giles, who’s renowned for his peppy glam­our and play­ful take on fem­i­nin­ity, is bring­ing el­e­ments of all th­ese difer­ent women to his new col­lab­o­ra­tion with Aspinal of Lon­don. The brand in­vited Giles to ‘dress’ some of his favourite de­signs. So, a hat box is reimag­ined in gold moiré, a mini trunk in co­ral satin. But, fit­tingly, it’s his il­lus­tra­tions of women that re­ally form the core of the col­lec­tion – splashed on to ev­ery­thing from tote bags to silk scarves, lug­gage tags and di­aries. ‘I il­lus­trated a whole load of char­ac­ters that I thought ex­em­pli­fied Aspinal through the eyes of Giles. Cos­mopoli­tan, con­tem­po­rary women who can live in a mil­lion difer­ent cities, who love fash­ion, who love art, who love mu­sic, who love go­ing to events,’ he ex­plains. ‘If you’re able to ex­plore, be cre­ative and cu­ri­ous in life it’s quite a treat.’ Here Giles re­veals some of the women who’ve in­spired him through­out his ca­reer.


My friend Rachel is a fan­tas­ti­cally bril­liant artist. From a style per­spec­tive, she has the most ex­tra­or­di­nary look and spon­tane­ity to her. I’m lucky enough to own a draw­ing of her by John [Cur­rin, her hus­band] which I trea­sure, in which she looks like some Rubens [muse]. When I’m de­sign­ing I of­ten think, ‘ What would Rachel look like in this? Would she want some­thing grander? Would she want some­thing more ab­stract?’ Ev­ery­thing she makes is in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and wom­anly, which is what I like about her and her work. She’s such a woman, in ev­ery sense.


My dear friend, col­lab­o­ra­tor and trou­ble­maker, I’ve known Katie since St Martins. Her in­tu­ition is in­cred­i­ble. We work very in­tu­itively to­gether – she’s never go­ing to give you the same thing again and again – she al­ways comes up with some­thing very sur­pris­ing and clever. We have our own lan­guage and vo­cab­u­lary of how we work and I re­ally en­joy that. I think she dresses ex­traor­di­nar­ily, like a modern ver­sion of some­one from a

Ce­cil Beaton photo. Th­ese odd com­bi­na­tions, hav­ing that play­ful­ness, is some­thing I re­ally like.


We first met on a trip and got on fan­tas­ti­cally well. I thought she was ex­traor­di­nar­ily beau­ti­ful and dressed im­mac­u­lately. She looks as if she means busi­ness. That is how you would want to look if you were a modern busi­ness woman. She mixes high and low re­ally well. Vanessa is ef­fort­lessly at home with her own style.


I met Gwen­do­line six years ago through a mu­tual friend and was in­stantly smit­ten. For a mil­lion dif­fer­ent rea­sons, I thought she was ex­tra­or­di­nary. The way she car­ries her­self, it was not like any­thing I’d seen be­fore. She’s been an ab­so­lute joy to work with pro­fes­sion­ally, and we’ve dressed her for many oc­ca­sions, most re­cently at the Em­mys. She has her very own in­nate sense of self and her knowl­edge of film, and fash­ion in film, wipes the floor with mine. It’s great to have that to play with.


She was an Amer­i­can writer, artist and edi­tor who started Flair mag­a­zine, which only ran for 11 months from 1950 to 1951. I’m lucky enough to own a few copies; they’re beau­ti­ful. She had the most in­cred­i­ble style, she wore cou­ture made by a gen­tle­man called Phillipe Lem­priere, head­dresses and al­ways this enor­mous emer­ald ring on her fin­ger. She had all that bril­liant Amer­i­can/english ec­cen­tric­ity that I re­ally love, and when she died they did a sale of all of her ef­fects and found out that it was all fake. She was re­ally play­ing with it all and hav­ing a lot of fun with it. She was kind of wild!


I find their gothic dark­ness ex­traor­di­nar­ily beau­ti­ful, a bit erotic. I love the grand scale pro­por­tions, the vis­ceral qual­ity, it’s re­ally, re­ally beau­ti­ful. It’s so sim­ple but just con­veys re­ally won­der­ful emo­tion and sto­ry­telling and char­ac­ter. In con­trast to that is Ge­orge Bar­bier, the 1920s Art Deco il­lus­tra­tor. He was re­ally bril­liant; his work has a sauci­ness and cheek­i­ness to it.

From far left: Gwen­do­line Christie; Fleur Fenton Cowles; Rachel Feinstein; il­lus­tra­tions by Bar­bier; Katie Grand; Vanessa Kingori; Salomé by Aubrey Beardsley

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