Grazia Daily had the pleasure of catching up with the lovely Giles Deacon this morning at a brunch to celebrate the launch of the 11th GOLD by Giles collection for New Look (check back on the site tomorrow, for the full lowdown). Naturally, though, as well as talking about his collaboration with the high street store, we also got him to exclusively spill the beans on his highly-anticipated debut collection for Ungaro.
It’s been impossible to think of Ungaro recently without thinking about Lindsay Lohan’s disastrous tenure as Artistic Director for the brand, when she famously worked alongside Estrella Archs for one season in 2009, producing a collection that is best remembered for the inclusion of heart-shaped nipple tassels.
Giles took over at Ungaro after Lohan and Archs’ departures, which in many ways was the climax of five unsettled years at the Parisian couture house following Emanuel Ungaro’s retirement in 2005. His appointment was greeted with much approval, partly because everyone LOVES Giles, and partly because his unapologetically feminine style is the perfect modern update of Emanuel Ungaro's own.
And clearly no one is more excited than Mr Deacon himself. ‘Ungaro is one of the last three Houses on the Avenue Montaigne’ [the premier address for high fashion in Paris] ‘and I felt I wanted to bring back this feeling of vivaciousness, of Frenchness, of really sexy clothing that’s got that Ungaro thing about it’.
Sounds good to us. And Giles will not be dealing with the task of reviving the beleaguered couture house alone. He has 'a good team on board and a great factory,' and just as thrillingly, he is also continuing his long-term collaboration with uber-stylist (and his former girlfriend); Katie Grand, who he claims is 'involved in it as well’.
It’s probably a good job Giles has a great team around him, as he’s doing such an insane amount of travelling that he actually has a loyalty card on Eurostar (‘I think it’s called a Carte Blanche’). He describes his French as ‘pretty inadequate’ saying that he can ‘order food, drinks, have a chat and hear when someone’s slagging me off’. All the important bits, really.
He also said that he hoped his collection for Ungaro would bring back a ‘quality...which I think it had kind of lost - for lots of reasons that have gone on over the last five years that we’re all very aware of. And amused by in various cases’.
The name Lindsay Lohan still hangs around the label of Ungaro like a bad celebrity fragrance, so did Giles find any trace of her at Ungaro HQ? An unfinished sketch for a SCRAM bracelet cover, perhaps? ‘I didn’t find one, no!’ he told us. ‘No hair extensions, no!’
Asked whether his appointment at Ungaro would have come about at all had Lindsay still had her role as Artistic Director, Giles charmingly replied by saying ‘I think there would have been some conflicting interests, between myself and Lindsay’.
Giles said that the inspiration behind his first collection had come in part from the Ungaro archive, telling us that ‘they [Ungaro] have got an amazing photographic, fabric and collection archive so I’ve spent quite a bit of time getting my head into all of that’ He explained that there are ‘some amazing pieces’ as well as ‘some hysterical pieces’.
Obviously, we asked him what his favourite piece in the archive was, and he told us that ‘there were some really beautiful cut dresses that were made exquisitely by the atelier. Beaded lace numbers, which look very, very simple, but they’re all made out of one piece. The work on them is incredible. Some of the pieces were, he said, from ‘the early 90’s’ and some ‘from mister Ungaro’s last collection which was in about 2002’.
So does this mean we can expect lots of lace from Giles at Ungaro? Well, ‘there’s all of the Ungaro staples’ he promises, which will be ‘reinterpreted in a kind of modern Giles way’. Yay!
Giles shows his debut collection for Ungaro in Paris on Monday 4th October. Of course we’ll be there, so check back here then for our review of his debut collection for the label.
- Alex Butt