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Giles does Paperclips and Plates at Pitti

Giles Deacon gives us plate-smashing and pretty frocks in a porcelain factory for his Pitti W pre-collection presentation.

Florence's Pitti Immagine traditions has given us some memorable presentations of late; Thome Browne's army of male typists and Proenza Schouler's Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black performance come to mind and as this year's invited guest, Giles Deacon also carried on the tradition of theatrics at Pitti.

With plenty of beautiful venues to choose from in Florence, Deacon chose to focus instead on Florence's origins as an industrial and productive city. So guests were ferried to the Richard Ginori porcelain factory on the outskirts of Florence and taken through an industrial space where porcelain plates were still being churned out, cluing us into Deacon's central theme of his installation for his A/W 10 pre-collection. Models were arranged artfully on mountains of pristine white plates, sitting like statues that purposely jarred with the sounds of crashing plates that fell off a caged conveyor belt. It's no surprise that with the production support from the Italian-company Castor, the pre-collection smacked of slick separates and a further refinement to Deacon's own aesthetic. It's a balance between the unexpected and quirky together with conventional shapes. For instance paperclip jacquard prints, spanner graphic prints influenced by the factory itself play out on ladylike dresses. These industrial motifs were further enhanced by Stephen Jones' punchy headgear.

We spoke to Deacon about how Italy itself as a place has become central to his development as a designer and a brand.

Dazed Digital: How did you choose the location for the event?

Giles Deacon: Everybody knows the incredible palazzos in Florence and all that kind of history, but I was interested in another side of the city, its industrial heritage. So, when I came to look at the venues within Florence and saw the Richard Ginori factory, I thought it was really amazing. I saw it like a different take of what Florence is about and I thought that it perfectly showed that this place is not like a museum city, but it’s a really vibrant, modern, living and working city and I’m really interested in this concept. When I saw the factory I was struck by the industrial mood and after that I did a lot of research about the components of industrial machines and about tools such as monkey wrenches and spanners and eventually made some super large and graphic prints of those, creating also 3D-like jacquards of bolts, nuts and clips.

DD: Do you feel that having your collection produced in Italy has influenced your work?
Giles Deacon: Totally. It has opened up a whole new world of pieces that we could have never produced in London because, in the UK, we don’t have that kind of access to those techniques, quality, knowledge or ability. For example, in the past we were never able to make well-cut trousers, but now we are and this is why this collection is much broader. At the moment we have a business and sales oriented plan with Castor for the next two years: we really want to take the collection further to other stores and countries and also develop an accessory line within it.

DD: Are there any Italian designer you particularly admire and what do you think about Italian fashion?
Giles Deacon: When I think about Italian fashion I think about the whole process, from designing to manufacturing which is really fantastic. Historically, I’m interested in all sorts of designers, from Simonetta to Capucci and I’m a huge fan of Donatella Versace and Miuccia Prada, I think they are incredible women. What really fascinates me about Italian fashion is the industry and the forward-thinking mentality they have. Italy’s quality and techniques are not based in the past, but are projected into the future. For instance, if you have an idea for something and you suggest it to someone but there isn’t a machine that can make it, they will actually make a machine able to produce what you had in mind and that’s extraordinary. I think this is the only country in the world that thinks and works like that and that’s why, from a designer’s perspective, it’s particularly interesting.

Giles Deacon video courtesy of