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 tour

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.