I can finally say I had Stephen Jones on my head if only for a very very brief moment. Well err… not Stephen Jones himself. That would be odd and slightly uncomfortable. No, instead I'm speaking of this arresting swan headpiece by Stephen Jones created for Giles' S/S 12 show that was surprisingly featherlight as well as making me feel like I'm not worthy of such plummage.
This is slightly belated but can a fluttery swan headpiece ever be unwelcome here? If it is, then you guys might be barking up the wrong blog. Slammed into the middle of London Fashion Week, I snuck out to Giles' studio to do a preview of his swantastic S/S 12 collection for Nowness. There's an ok-ish interview there but read my disclosure note below. The key thing is that Phil Oh photographed me bumbling about a studio visit. I've done countless studio visits but have never had someone documenting me documenting the work of designers. New schtick? Seeing me see the clothes? Hmmm…. on second thoughts, perhaps not even though Phil took some lovely shots, which are on Nowness with some extra ones here…
My camera angle wasn't that advantageous at the show but suffice to say, the collection really showcased Giles as a real couturier, live and well in London. Perhaps the c word is too heavy and imbued with the sort of pedantic tendancies that would have people reeling off about who is and isn't part of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. In which case, GIles doesn't apply but the level of work, craftsmanship and hand finishing that goes on inside his vast studio has few equals at LFW. Why do I look like I'm gawping most of the time in the shots above? Because I was a) super impressed that when I went, everything was pretty much done, ready for Katie Grand to get her hands on it and style it (it goes against the LFW style of sewing trousers up, backstage a minute before the show…), b) details such as this silver leather laser-cut work mirroring the crumpled foil background of Cecil Beaton's early 20s-30s photographs (inspiring the set as well) and c) just seeing so much intricate work in progress by people who rely on delicate handskills is always going to make me coo and sigh.
Swan Lake or indeed a film like Black Swan didn't directly inspire the collection as one might think, but instead it was Giles' bedazzled tutus designed for the English National Ballet, which left traces everywhere in the collection. It was peppered with the easy-to-grasp separates, which has been a commercially viable path for Giles to follow. Still, it was these pretty pretty takes on flapper gowns with silver laser cut leather that brought me back into the warm arms of his collection, harking back to previous
Should I venture into figure skating, the top half of this outfit would do very nicely….
No embarrassing "Take them off me" faces on these models who wore the trio of swans as though they were part of their heads, reminding me of majestic figureheads on the front of ships.
I'm learning my figure skating static poses from the models who were plunged into darkness and lit up revealing these bird-like poses. THIS amount of swan in one collection could have headed down a dodgy path but Giles convinced us of the spectacular heights that a swan can go.
**Disclosure** Blackberries and their Voice Recorder app needs to come with a warning that say "I've stopped recording and you're just talking into me pointlessly." I lost quite a bit of the conversation I had with Giles so apologies if the interview seems a bit sketchy.