On Tuesday 11th November Colin McDowell, Senior Fashion writer for Sunday Times Style and renowned fashion commentator, staged a televised chat with fashion designer, Giles Deacon, at The London College of Fashion. There was an atmosphere of excitement as Giles, who was awarded British Fashion Designer of the year in 2007, strolled on stage and settled into his chair next to Colin.
Colin started by praising Gile's achievements and outlining his star studded career which has involved working for Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren before setting up his own London based luxury womenswear label in 2004.
Gile's came across as very magnanimous, as in answer to a question on how hard it is to become an established fashion designer, he explained how there is so much petty politics within the industry and how he has tried to combat this in his own team by ensuring a healthy fun relationship. Among other qualities he listed, was 'direct honesty, to say that's a shit idea', to which he sat back laughing.
Gile's then answered questions from the audience, such as the inevitable, 'is there anything that inspires you?' to which he replied that it was actually those around him that influence him, adding after a pause, that daily work has to be stimulating, and you need people to be direct and even silly, like his long term friend and ex, Fashion Stylist Katie Grand. Though he hastily assured the audience that she was not his muse, 'the concept of a muse is just a bit creepy, like designers who say they were inspired by their grandmothers skirts when they were little. that's just weird!'
There was many questions from people in the audience who felt an affiliation with his northern roots, having been brought up in Cumbria, and he demonstrated how his background informed his career from his 'northern pragmatism' which made him think, 'Christ, gotta get a job, pay the rent!', to his new collection for high street retailer New Look, 'it's an income for the next three years, and people were sniffy about it but then not everyone can or wants to spend £250,000 on a dress. And why should they?'
And his proudest moment? without hesitation he replied, 'being Designer of the Year, just looking at the list of other people who were on it and thinking Christ I'm on it!' Since last year he has been a permanent fixture in the fashion world and has a number of lucrative deals with New Look, Daks and his own label Giles Deacon.