To launch his new collaboration with Matches, last night Giles Deacon threw a Halloween party complete with potent punch and ghoulish waiters at Matches No.23 in stylish Marylebone. We caught up with the man himself to talk celebrity dressing, future ambitons and Kate Middleton's wardrobe choices.
Do you have a muse?
Giles Deacon: No I don’t believe in muses. The idea of this idealised woman who doesn’t exist actually scares me – it’s a bit creepy isn’t it?
What piece of fashion advice would you give to women?
Giles Deacon: Get your underpinnings right – underwear is really important. And make sure you make an effort with your shoes.
Of all the people that have worn your designs which one has been the most special to you?
Giles Deacon: Ooo that’s a toughie! I don’t want to offend anyone! I’d say Cate Blanchett was particularly remarkable and memorable. Kylie was a great one to do really early on and I loved doing Abbey’s (Clancey) wedding dress. Gwyneth always looks fantastic – we’ve dressed her a number of times. I prefer to make something special for someone and build a personal relationship – it’s more fun rather than just sending out a choice from the press office
Are there any other ladies you would like to work with?
Giles Deacon: I would dearly dearly love to dress Lauren Bacall. She is an all-time heroine of mine, a real real Hollywood giant. It would be amazing to dress her.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Giles Deacon: The British Fashion Awards designer of the year is pretty up there. I didn’t cry but I did get quite drunk. Even though it sounds daft, just the work we do and the quality of the output is pretty phenomenal. I definitely have pride in that.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in fashion?
Giles Deacon: That all the presumed stereotypes about people in the fashion industry are not true. One thing I have learnt is that there are horrible people and fantastic people in every line of work form accountancy to working in a chippy to fashion to drama to art to whatever. The quantities can vary but on the whole I’ve met some brilliant people and met some good longstanding friends.
Which young or up and coming designers are you excited about?
Giles Deacon: She’s not so much brand new, but I love Louise Gray, I think she’s wonderful. And I love Simone Rocha, I got to meet her a few weeks ago and we got on really well. She’s got great taste and has a great laugh.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Giles Deacon: I can ride horses really well. I’ve always ridden and used to compete and all sorts up until I was about 17. The last time I rode I was in Kenya out on safari which was amazing. A little scary at times - you don't want to be getting kicked off there.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Giles Deacon: To relax I like to swim - that’s the nearest I get to properly relaxing. Then it’s just hanging out with friends and walking around town. I really like exploring the city at the weekend, there’s so many funny streets. I’m a really big fan of Catharine Arnold’s books about Bedlam and Newgate jail and I’m doing little mini tours around those areas. Its one of those things about getting older, you starting finding all these things interesting. Sometimes I’m like have you heard yourself Giles?!
Are there any current fashion trends you think are terrible?
Giles Deacon: You know what I’m terrible with trends. I wish someone would get rid of trends. I guess I’m not a huge fan of those extreme heels – they could vanish and I wouldn’t be sad.
If you had free rein, how would you dress the Duchess of Cambridge?
Giles Deacon: I think we’d put her in one of our laser cut leather dresses - they have a great shape for her. I think she’d look good in leather because it could still be fantastically suitable but just that bit tougher. She always does tailoring so well and I think with the that level of workmanship and that cool leather edge it would give her a bit of a kick.
Have you got a lifetime ambition you haven’t yet fulfilled?
Giles Deacon: I’d like to get my provisional hand gliding licence.
Are you still ambitious?
Giles Deacon: For sure. That’s the brilliant thing about the cyclical nature of collection, every single season it’s a new set of problems. I’m not interested in global domination but I’d love to see the business grow even further. Then its about carrying on having fun and earning enough money that you can do nice things but not so much you end up like a millionaire lunatic. That’s not the end result for me. Money is a hugely important part don’t get me wrong but its not the sole reason to get up every day. Id be doing something else if that’s what it was all about.
What’s the biggest high you get from your job?
Giles Deacon: I think when the studio is really on fire and everyone’s locked in doing their things incredibly. When its all in full machine mode, its incredible and really fantastic to see. We are making these things for people to come and buy and enjoy, have fantastic times in then have great memories from when they wore it. It stays with someone for ever and that’s really brilliant. ]
If you could give one piece of advice for someone starting out in the fashion industry what would you say?
Giles Deacon: I would say be prepared to do absolutely anything with in legal restrictions. That’s the only way you’re going to learn it all.
What would you like to do next?
Giles Deacon: Just keep on doing things that I find personally exciting. I’d be really happy with that.