Sunday, 28 November 2010

‘At the start of this year, I never thought I’d be cleaning Lindsey Lohan’s desk out…’

After attending a seminar at Whitechapel Gallery last week, I cannot help but speak about Giles Deacon on first name terms. Growing up in Yorkshire, like myself I felt comforted by his Northern accent and down-to-earth demeanour. The illustrations accompanying this article capture his playful personality and ability to have fun in an industry sometimes shrouded with superficiality. Like a breath of fresh air, he declares his love for ‘great women’ and goes on to tell us, ‘I do not like acres of faceless girls’. His catwalk models and illustrated figures define the Giles brand, almost caricature like in subversive outfits that celebrate the female body – the clothes enhancing personality rather than overshadowing it. He states that ‘character, experience and opinion’ are all important in his model castings for the shows. Unlike other designers, whose collections are named after their formal surname (for example: Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy, Dolce and Gabbanna) Giles’s own label is just Giles. See the way he signs the annotation sketch dotted with a kiss? Like the brand, a tad flirty but full of genuine affection all the same – Giles down to a tea.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

McQueen: The Next Chapter

‘The thing that Lee was about, and McQueen is about, is telling a story’, Sarah Burton explains after the showcasing of the Alexander McQueen runway collection at Paris in October. As her first Fashion Week since being appointed creative director she had huge boots to fill, under pressure to live up to the legend, both literally and metaphorically. In perfect sync with her predecessor, Burton showed that she was not only reading off the same page as Lee but ‘could do it in her own way’.

As grass emerges through the cracks of the white washed floorboards, the models footsteps fall confidently and dress hems flow freely. Burton gives the brand a new identity; McQueen has always been about strong women and Burton follows this train of thought in the Spring/Summer collection. However, this new woman seemed somewhat softer. The clothes had lost that archetypal rawness that McQueen was renowned for and replaces it with a natural purity. In the collection, we see a movement representative of the loss and regaining of different identities. The graceful white dresses allude to innocence; the structured tailoring is somewhat freer. As skirts billow and shoulders flutter, the colour palette shifts from the darkness that McQueen embraced to neutrals representative of a fresh start. It is clear that Burton successfully blends the McQueen sensibility with a slightly altered, less tainted identity, taking our imaginations to somewhere new yet reminiscent of old.

In perfect sequence with the McQueen way, Burton creates a collection that is equally as fictive. With each garment, the audience in Paris saw a narrative that developed, rather than concluded the McQueen story.