Giles Deacon is a British fashion designer, best known for his playful designs and his collaboration with High Street retailer New Look. Deacon was born in 1969 in Darlington, County Durham, but grew up near Ullswater in the Lake District. Deacon is the youngest child of David, an agricultural salesman and Judith, a housewife. He attended Barnard Castle School in County Durham and he initially wanted to become a marine biologist, but he failed his chemistry A-level. Deacon later joined Harrogate College of Arts, where he completed an art foundation course. After completing his course he went on to study at Central St Martins and was in the same class as fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Luella Bartley. He graduated in 1992 and began collaborating on the label ‘Doran Deacon’ with his friend, Fi Doran as well as contributing illustrations to Dazed & Confused. Deacon choose to travel and gain experiences at fashion houses, before starting his own label. During his time in Paris, Deacon was hired to work with fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, where he learnt how to use a brand name commercially. Deacon worked with Castelbajac for two years, before returning to London to work for High Street fashion houses. During this time, Deacon met the owner of Italian luxury goods house, Bottega Veneta, and was hired to work for the company, becoming the head designer and debuting a much acclaimed collection in 2000. Deacon was dismissed in 2001 when the Gucci group bought the company and terminated his contract, so they could hire German designer, Tomas Maier. However, he was immediately hired by Tom Ford to assist with Gucci womenswear. Deacon was forced to leave Gucci after one season when he became ill from an infected saliva gland. Once he had recovered, Deacon decided to take out a loan to start his own label and he launched GILES in 2003. He launched his first collection at London Fashion Week in February 2004, styled by his friend Katie Grand, the show saw models Karen Elson, Lily Cole, Eva Herzigova and Linda Evangelista walking the catwalk. The collection received international acclaim and began a renewed interest in London fashion. In April 2010, it was announced that Deacon had been appointed the creative director position with French fashion house Ungaro, following the dismissal of Estrella Archs. Deacon is the fifth designer to be hired by the house since it was sold to entrepreneur Asim Abdullah in 2005. He will show his first collection for Ungaro in October 2010. Deacon has worked on many collaborations with companies including Sky, Converse and Evoke, with whom he created his first jewellery collection. Deacon has called collaborations “practical”,because they “bring the money you need for your own company”. In a two season collaboration with British fashion company Mulberry, Deacon introduced a line of accessories called “Mulberry for Giles”,which was both a commercial and critical success. Deacon was then appointed to design for the classic British tailoring label, Daks. He showed his first and second collections for the brand in 2007 and his third in 2008. In 2009, Deacon designed and created a strapless dress with polka dots for the Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny, to celebrate the launch of Caramel Nibbles. A limited edition scarf was also created and 1400 were given away via the world’s first online Pop Up Boutiques. The scarf then went on sale at selected John Lewis stores and online. In the same year, Deacon teamed up with Norwegian water company Isklar and created a limited edition Tote bag with 50 per cent of the proceeds from each bag sold going to Oxfam. Deacon’s best known collaboration has been with the High Street fashion chain New Look. The collection called Gold by Giles began in March 2007. Actress Drew Barrymore starred in the first ad campaigns for the collection, following a chance meeting between her and the designer in a lift. British model, Agyness Deyn took over and modelled the key pieces for Deacon’s 4th collection. Deacon’s first menswear collection debuted in 2008 and his first beachwear collection launched in early June 2009. On 22 March 2010, Deacon and New Look launched his tenth Gold collection. Deacon has been known to challenge the traditional ideas of womenswear and often uses wild prints and pop culture references in his designs. He has described his designs for GILES as humorous, dark and sexy and has stated that he wants diversity in among them. He said, “My dresses should be worn by young, cool girls just as much as by 55 to 60 year old women”. At the 2008 London Fashion Week, Deacon presented a collection with a futuristic theme based on the 1980s arcade game Pac-Man. The character was embellished on many of the dresses and the models wore oversized helmets in the shape of Pac-Man. Deacon’s New Look menswear collections have been described by GQ magazine as “straddling the line between quirky and wearable”.
On Deacon’s style, fashion website Style.com has said, “His work is randomness incarnate. It can’t keep to any one message, or develop an intellectual thesis. If you’re looking for a point, he’ll never get to it”. Princess Beatrice, Drew Barrymore, Thandie Newton, Scarlett Johansson, Gwen Stefani, Mischa Barton
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