Walking up the steps to the beautiful Guild of Stationers Hall, just off Fleet Street, an eager audience for Giles Deacon's Autumn Winter 12 collection knew they were going to be in for a treat. The building is a grande and attention drawing structure, built in the 1400's and one of the few sites left in the city that has maintained its original purpose. While it now hosts a number of functions, it is still a meeting point for members of the fraternity.
The main room was arranged with trestle seating throughout, with the models walking an intricate maze through the audience, allowing each member to get fantastically close, unravelling the detail built into each piece. As ever with Giles, his attention to dramatic detail and opulence is second to none and with this show, and collection, he did not disappoint. Opening with a magnificent amazonian model decked out in floor length black gown and a Stephen Jones feathered face covering head piece, the mood was set. It was gothic, sinister and fantastical. A feeling of the deathly combined with the exuberance and decadence of life seemed the starting point, it felt like Giles had created a set of intricately glad angels to guide you through the afterlife. “In a nutshell this collection was the further adventures of a disco jacobean fairytale,” explains Deacon, and that definitely seemed to fit.
The collection was made up of a number of gowns, each with their own intricate mood. Bodices combined with flowing skirts and tight restricted arms met layers and layers of what looked like torn ribbons of silk, built up into floor length dresses. There were frilled and embellished shoulders, roses made into applique motifs, a tapestry showing a fantasy world of unicorns, “all were hand made and designed specifically for the mood of the show, influenced in part by the setting of the Hall itself. “They felt like the tapestries could have been pulled up from the vaults or cupboards downstairs” said Deacon afterwards.
Another poignant moment was a number of pieces, especially the silk and satins, featuring burn makes and holes throughout, highlighted by ruby red beadwork surrounding the blackened fabric. “There was also the concept of a beautiful house setting on and you play that game of what do you keep and what do you let go,” he explains. From that idea came the burning and the burn print elements, pushing through a sense of decay. But, as always with Giles, it is decay combined with decadence, elegance, aspiration and ultimately, beauty.