Studio preview of Giles Deacon's collection

Studio preview of Giles Deacon's collection
(Image credit: Giles Deacon)

There is 24 hours to go, and I am in the East London studio

of Giles Deacon, for a sneak preview of his show, one of Wallpaper*s highlights of London fashion week.

Giles Deacon, for a sneak preview of his show

(Image credit: Giles Deacon)

See more images of Nick's 'presee' at Giles' studio

Deacon's normal team of seven has swelled to a staggering 55

for the show's run up, growing gradually in the past month to include

a 15 strong team of seamstresses, plus cutters and a host of

students keen to help out and get some valuable work experience and

an impressive name on their cv's.

Giles is doing fittings with long time collaborator Katy Grand. The

pair worked together years ago when he designed at Bottega Veneta

during the pre-Tomas Maier days. Models come in to be fitted in their

looks, try out accessories and get shot for the all important

'Polaroid', now upgraded to digital with the help of Angelo a 'proper

photographer', who helps edit the looks and create the running


Some of the models this season have been 'street cast' ( Giles

was once himself cast in Paris for a Comme des Garçons show). Giles

and Katy are trying to decide on the best length for Sian's dress. In

her other life Sian is a corset maker and this naturally has a rather

fitted bodice. After several attempts and a change of footwear

(thigh-high Louboutin boots) Giles is happy, 'it starts finishes and

ends' he says satisfied, moving over to try Georgie B in a giant hat

that looks, from the glossy underside, like an Anish Kapoor.

The studio is a buzz with action, there are people spraying conical

studs in one room and people applying them in others. There are

tables with up to five nimbly fingers staffers applying embroidery

and banks of machines sewing away, as after a fitting a garment can

be practically remade. Giles is waiting for a few last minute items

from Geraldine Larkin his trusted embroiderer and David Fleet Bigwood

the textile designer. Their work is everywhere, Larkin has worked her

magic on frottaged felt and Fleets balsa-wood-strips print on silk

has just been made into a show-stopper of a dress, all medieval

bodice with a high puff of a peplum behind. As well as these two

Giles works with a special mill that has done some amazing jacquard

silks with a Gerhard Richter vibe, as well as milliner-of-the-moment

Steven Jones and master cobbler Christian Louboutin.

The collection is very Giles; he says he wants to maximise his

strengths. He calls it essentially t-shirts and skirts, although

that is rather an understatement. There is a just a bit of Monsieur

Saint Laurent in there 'you can't not can you?" he tells me when I

bring it up. Shapes are highly structured, very tailored with most of

the construction visible like the razor dress with all its zig-zag

cutting in a weirdly wonderful pearlised galaxy leather. It all has a

couture look but is not old fashioned, proper grown-up silks from the

likes of Taroni have been lazer-cut and sewn with the seams outside,

a new detail is the addition of registrations notches on the exterior

(the little guides used for tailors to see that pattern pieces match

up) or hand frayed. Otherwise smart skirts are adorned with multiples

of safety pins sprayed tone sur tone for a lady punk look. There is

some rather tasteful (it's pale grey) rubbery silicone, fashioned in

to chic little tops, also grey patent leather and even a blow up

jacket, the expansive part emphasising a nipped in waist.

The last fitting is tonight, Sunday, then its just a matter of making

all the alterations and finishing the running order. After the show

Giles does not jet off for a well deserved break, instead he's flying

to Milan for a dinner with Diego della Valle on Tuesday, then home

again to check on the selling collection which he sells in Paris next

month, and back to Milan on Thursday for the presentation of della

Valle's Fay collection that he also designs.

Also known as Picky Nicky, Nick Vinson has contributed to Wallpaper* Magazine for the past 21 years. He runs Vinson&Co, a London-based bureau specialising in creative direction and interiors for the luxury goods industry. As both an expert and fan of Made in Italy, he divides his time between London and Florence and has decades of experience in the industry as a critic, curator and editor.