Holding Court


Giles Deacon is one of those designers who manages to be both hugely respected and in demand without ever really appearing to fete the media through the usual strategies. For someone who cut his teeth designing for top Italian luxury brands, was awarded one of the most prestigious fashion awards by the French and counts some of fashion’s most influential figures as part of his personal inner circle, he’s actually a fairly low key figure. His clothes might not necessarily pop off the page as editorial in all the usual glossies as often as various other brands, yet he is persistently the subject of much praise and admiration. But, if his AW11 collection of his Giles label is anything to go by, any fashion editor with a bit of savvy will make sure to include it in forthcoming editorial because its elegant buttoned-up femininity is surely something to which many women aspire.

Summoning the invited to literally appear in court, the collection was shown against the backdrop of the appropriate Neo-Gothic grandeur of the Royal Courts of Justice during LFW.

Sprouting more feathery flair than an aviary and sticking primarily to clean-bordering-on-severe lines, the AW11 collection concentrates on fitted lean tailoring with complementary silhouettes; either keeping to the tight curves of the body or playing with the counterpoint of billowing volume in soft feathers or what can only be described as chic yeti. Much of this hairy extravaganza is, in fact, a luxurious strain of goat. The sleekness of the whole sweep of the lines themselves continues into the choice of fabrics; soft leather, silk, satin, crepe. The two-tone bulk of the collection – whether as solid blocks of colour or bold textiles in black ‘n white- will doubtlessly prove hugely popular with many fashionable women who are entirely at home with the self-evident truth of the popular truism that basic black always makes a flattering and powerful statement.

As we have come to expect from Giles Deacon, the regimented dominance of these two tones in the collection is broken up with dashes of colour, bold textiles and prints, to optimum effect. Dramatic evening dresses or natty little numbers based on women’s suits with black lace cuffs in an electric teal dazzle and command attention. Bold floral prints resembling an almost psychedelic take on Art Nouveau stained glass are worked into figure-hugging dresses with little details revealing skin. And to some extent the unexpected highlights were a number of svelte looks in glossy satin finishes printed with a detail from Paul Delaroche’s famous painting ‘The Execution of Lady Jane Grey’ that hangs in the National Gallery in London. . The detail of poor Lady Jane’s blindfolded face here takes on an almost serene and surreal appearance for those that might not instantly recall the macabre content of the full painting.


Giles Deacon’s consummate touch of whimsy may not have caused as much of an uproar as the painting itself when it was first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1834, but that’s probably a good thing. Given the subject matter of the painting, the grim sentences that were once dished out at the Old Bailey and the notorious viciousness of some fashion critics, Giles Deacon have tempted fate enough.



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