Grazia Middle East - - 10 HOT STORIES -

SINCE TAK­ING HIS FI­NAL BOW on the Lon­don Fash­ion Week cat­walk in SS16 to con­cen­trate on cou­ture, Bri­tish de­signer Giles Dea­con’s be­spoke cre­ations have caused quite a stir.

Take Pippa Mid­dle­ton’s wed­ding dress as a case in point. “Lovely Pippa,” he ex­claims fondly. “She was a won­der­ful client to work with. I couldn’t have been hap­pier with the end re­sult,” he re­calls of the pearl­strewn lace con­fec­tion he de­signed for the cer­e­mony in Berk­shire last year. “We got back to Lon­don that night, ex­hausted, then woke up on Sun­day morn­ing to friends in Aus­tralia send­ing through pic­tures from the front pages of all the Sun­day news­pa­pers, which con­tin­ued all the way round the globe. Bar The Ob­server, I think we were on the front page of ev­ery im­por­tant news­pa­per in the

world, which was phe­nom­e­nal. It brought a fan­tas­tic amount of global recog­ni­tion, and I re­ally ad­mire the way that both Pippa and her sis­ter re­ally cham­pion Bri­tish de­sign, and are re­ally great am­bas­sadors across all of it. And long may they do so.”

And it was an­other one of his high-pro­file cou­ture clients that led to cos­tumes by Giles be­ing pirou­et­ted the New York City Bal­let Fall Fash­ion Gala. “Sarah Jes­sica Parker is the Chair of the New York City Bal­let Gala and asked if I could get in­volved. Work­ing with Marc Hap­pel, who is the di­rec­tor of the cos­tume shop for the New York City Bal­let, was such a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. It was like hav­ing two ate­liers to work with – one in New York and one in Lon­don. Then I was paired up with Kyle Abra­ham – who’s a bril­liant, vi­sion­ary chore­og­ra­pher

– who has this won­der­ful dance com­pany called Abra­ham in Mo­tion. We all got on like a house on fire. The end re­sult was bril­liant. We had these in­cred­i­ble James Blake, Kanye West and clas­si­cal crossover el­e­ments in the mu­sic, with Kyle’s chore­og­ra­phy, and the cos­tumes by me, and even though I do say it my­self, we brought the house down in the open­ing gala.”

By now, it’s ap­par­ent that

Giles has amassed a co­terie of cou­ture clients that’s as in­ter­est­ing as it is in­flu­en­tial, and it was a con­ver­sa­tion with an­other de­signer – Mariya Dykalo,

Cre­ative Di­rec­tor of Aspinal of Lon­don – that started a chain of events that led to Grazia en­joy­ing a civilised af­ter­noon tea with Giles to­day to cel­e­brate the launch of Giles x Aspinal of Lon­don.

He ex­plains, “I’ve known that brand for quite some time, and Maria has been client for about two years, trot­ting up with gor­geous bags and what have you, and one day she said, ‘How would you feel about do­ing a hol­i­day cap­sule col­lec­tion?’ We had a bit of chat about it and thought ‘let’s do Aspinal through my eyes.’ So we got to­gether, I went to the store and to the fac­tory, and I thought they had so many fan­tas­tic ex­ist­ing styles that I could do my thing to, which didn’t re­quire rein­ven­tion of new bags.”

The re­sult is a won­der­fully whim­si­cal col­lec­tion of mini trunks, clutches, totes, mi­cro hat boxes, purses, scarves, card hold­ers, pass­port cov­ers and lug­gage tags, all with Giles’ sig­na­ture sense of quirk­i­ness. “I thought it would be a won­der­ful place to do some il­lus­tra­tions and to in­vent some mu­tu­ally in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters who were glob­ally in­clu­sive,” he adds.

“I love char­ac­ters, and Aspinal is one of those beau­ti­ful char­ac­ter brands,” he re­veals. “It’s very much about a quin­tes­sen­tial mod­ern English­ness, which is based around qual­ity, hand­crafts­man­ship and a real Bri­tish play­ful­ness, and a sense of fun and beauty that I re­late to and al­ways try to get across in my own work, as I do here.”

The mea­sure of the col­lab­o­ra­tion’s suc­cess is that fol­low­ing the cap­sule col­lec­tion, Giles was in­vited on board as de­sign di­rec­tor for the brand soon af­ter. “From do­ing this ini­tial cap­sule, we all worked very well to­gether and Mr Bur­ton, the founder of Aspinal, sug­gested some fur­ther in­volve­ment, and the role of de­sign di­rec­tor worked per­fectly for me.” He con­cedes, “I couldn’t com­mit full-time be­cause I’ve got all the cou­ture to look af­ter. This po­si­tion means I can come in from the work­ings and un­der­stand­ing that I’ve learned

of how the busi­ness is over the last year and of­fer my de­sign ex­pe­ri­ence and thoughts from the last 25 years. To see where I can add some value is what I’d like to do, and con­tinue the jour­ney. The thing that re­ally at­tracted me to it wasn’t about go­ing in and do­ing a whole cre­ative rein­ven­tion, there isn’t that need to do that. It’s to do some tweak­ing and some po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion into new ar­eas, and help push it into lots of new ter­ri­to­ries glob­ally, which is a big part of the strat­egy, so I think I can bring quite a bit to that.”

Does he miss his heady cat­walk days? “It works for some peo­ple, but I felt I could of­fer the de­sign world some­thing more. We’d built up a re­ally in­ter­est­ing pri­vate client busi­ness from do­ing all the show pieces over the years, and the im­por­tant thing about con­cen­trat­ing on cou­ture was re­ally tar­get­ing those clients. What be­came clear to me is, yes, while you do get a good per­cent­age of clients com­ing to Paris or Lon­don for Fash­ion Week, that top 10 per cent of re­ally su­per-high-net-worth in­di­vid­u­als? You go to them.”

With clients from Man­hat­tan to the Mid­dle East, what de­fines a woman who wears Giles?

“One thing that’s con­tin­ual the world over is that peo­ple want unique­ness. That’s para­mount. I have a bit of a con­cern for lots of brands when they all start look­ing like each other or try­ing to fit into a cer­tain ho­mogenised time. One thing that no­body wants now is any­thing generic.” And no-one could ever ac­cuse Giles of be­ing sus­cep­ti­ble to that.

Mini hat boxes are adorned with moiré­ef­fect leather

Giles de­signed Pippa Mid­dle­ton’s wed­ding dress in May 2017

Giles has adorned mini trunks and clutches with his il­lus­tra­tions Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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