Cou­ture king GILES DEA­CON shows off his whim­si­cal new bags of style

The cou­ture king on red car­pet mo­ments, colour­ful celebrity clients and the im­por­tance of crafts­man­ship


There’s no ques­tion we all want to be Giles girls. From the fairy-tale con­fec­tion he fash­ioned for Pippa Mid­dle­ton on her wed­ding day to the dra­matic sil­hou­ettes he saves for the ever-stylish Sarah Jes­sica Parker, not to men­tion the en­sem­bles he con­jures up for Lady Gaga,

Cate Blanchett, Rita Ora and ev­ery fash­ion­ista wor­thy of her FROW pew, he al­ways weaves a story of per­fec­tion around the wearer.

If, how­ever, im­mac­u­lately crafted cou­ture is not in your bud­get, you too can in­vest in the Bri­tish tastemaker’s aes­thetic by splash­ing out on ac­ces­sories from his lat­est col­lab­o­ra­tion with Aspinal of Lon­don.

HELLO! caught up with the cou­ture king in Dubai to talk in­tri­cate il­lus­tra­tions, cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion and whim­si­cal de­sign.

This isn’t your first time to the re­gion is it?

No, I have been com­ing here on and off for about 15 years. Al­ways work­ing. I have never been on hol­i­day here. That is one thing I would like to do here, come on hol­i­day. Usu­ally my trips are a com­bi­na­tion of PR work and meet­ing pri­vate clients. I have been all over the place. The UAE, Saudi Ara­bia a few times, Dubai many many times, Kuwait, Oman – the whole re­gion.

We have seen shots of you in full Ara­bic re­galia in fact.

Yes, in full tobe. I was go­ing to bring it back this time but I needed to dry-clean it! When I was last in Saudi, I got that all fit­ted and ev­ery­thing. I asked if I could wear it any­where, and they said: “Yes, it is just like black tie. It is cer­e­mo­nial.”

How did this par­tic­u­lar ac­ces­sories col­lab­o­ra­tion even come about?

Through won­der­ful Maria [Dykalo, cre­ative di­rec­tor of Aspinal] who has been a pri­vate cou­ture client of mine for the past two years. She is al­ways ar­riv­ing with these gor­geous bags, as you can

imag­ine. I knew of Aspinal his­tor­i­cally and we talked about a few things and she sug­gested that I do a cap­sule hol­i­day col­lec­tion.

Was the fact that Aspinal is known for its crafts­man­ship a big bonus for you?

Yes, ab­so­lutely. It is all about han­draft­ed­ness, the quin­tes­sen­tial English­ness of it as well. The play­ful­ness and whimsy.

It is very whim­si­cal.

Which I love. I al­ways knew that was what it was go­ing to be like. I love bags that have per­son­al­ity. We re­ally don’t need an­other bag col­lec­tion that peo­ple need a man­ual for, to un­der­stand how it works. I want it to be very emo­tive and joy­ful. They are these jewel-like things that you want to keep and cher­ish.

When it comes to the sil­hou­ettes, did you work with the es­tab­lished ones that the brand uses?

I had a meet­ing with Iain [Bur­ton, the founder) and Maria and what I thought would be great would be to do Aspinal through my eyes. So it’s my take on their clas­sic shapes. It wasn’t about do­ing new de­signs of bag for this cap­sule, it was to work with ex­ist­ing sil­hou­ettes, play with the scale of them and to think about clever things I could do that would put my stamp on them. Work­ing with my il­lus­tra­tions, do­ing spe­cific new il­lus­tra­tions, em­broi­deries, the moiré that we usu­ally do on silk we did on leather, putting in metallics… all the el­e­ments that I would play with within a cou­ture col­lec­tion.

Have you done many bags be­fore?

I have worked with places silently be­fore and once with Mul­berry about fif­teen years ago when Stu­art [Vev­ers] was the cre­ative di­rec­tor there. That was all black and vinyl with big brass and gold studs on it. Very dif­fer­ent. This is the first time I have done a full col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Was there any as­pect of it that you had to learn?

The cre­ative process is very sim­i­lar. Es­pe­cially when you have such nice prod­uct to work with. That was the joy of work­ing with the ex­ist­ing shapes.

Do you per­son­ally have an ac­ces­sory that has sen­ti­men­tal value for you?

I have a very, very dear pen­cil case that I carry all my pen­cils and my sharp­ener in. It is made from silk from a col­lec­tion a few years ago.

Is it a chal­lenge to work at a dif­fer­ent price point?

No, that is the nice thing about work­ing with Aspinal be­cause the qual­ity, the

de­tail­ing in­volved, is great. It was not a prob­lem.

Is this go­ing to be an on­go­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion?

Yes it is. We are work­ing on the next col­lec­tion that will be pre­sented in Lon­don in Fe­bru­ary and we are also look­ing at ideas and colours for Septem­ber next year.

Whose style do you ad­mire?

I am very lucky that I have dressed so many fan­tas­tic clients. Some­one I con­tin­u­ally en­joy to dress is Sarah Jes­sica Parker. We dressed her last in Septem­ber and we have dressed her for the Met Ball, too. Cate Blanchett is an­other joy. Gwen­do­line Christie too. Lady Gaga – we have dressed her a num­ber of times.

You also did Pippa Mid­dle­ton’s wed­ding gown – do you have any com­mis­sions that are truly spe­cial to you?

Many. One of the joys of cou­ture is that pretty much all of them are for spe­cial oc­ca­sions for peo­ple. Even when they are re­peat buy­ers – they are for spe­cific events and im­por­tant mile­stones. Birthdays, wed­dings, grad­u­a­tions – you name it. The thing about work­ing with peo­ple like that is that you are mak­ing some­thing very per­sonal for them.

What is the com­mon thread be­tween all your cou­ture clients?

Per­sonal aes­thet­ics can be quite dif­fer­ent... but there is a real ap­pre­ci­a­tion and love of crafts­man­ship and per­son­al­i­sa­tion. They don’t want to be wear­ing some­thing that any­one else is wear­ing. Ev­ery piece is a one-off. The more in-depth you work with some­body, the more spe­cial it be­comes.

Is there a piece from this line you truly love?

All of them. It de­pends who I was buy­ing it for. Dif­fer­ent clients would go for dif­fer­ent styles. My Mid­dle East­ern clients would def­i­nitely like the co­ral and green silk trunks with em­broi­dery.

Who would you love to col­lab­o­rate with?

I think NASA would be a re­ally in­ter­est­ing com­pany to work with. They have phe­nom­e­nal tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise in lots of dif­fer­ent ar­eas from tech­nol­ogy to fab­ri­ca­tions and ways in which things could be man­u­fac­tured. They are phe­no­ma­lly for­ward-think­ing.

Which new de­sign­ers do you rate?

Golly – so many. There’s the lovely Matty Bo­van who is also a dear friend. Si­mone Rocha – who isn’t that new -- she does fan­tas­tic pieces and is a lovely per­son.

Giles (be­low, in Saudi Ara­bia) brought his own stamp to Aspinal clas­sics. Fans of the cou­ture king, who has de­signed for the NYC bal­let (be­low right), in­clude Kate Moss (right) and Gisele Bünd­chen (top)

Giles loves work­ing with fash­ion icon Sarah Jes­sica Parker (top left, with Kelly Ripa and the de­signer). He feels this Hep­burn bag will es­pe­cially ap­peal to his Amer­i­can clients

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