Giles Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2014 London
Even before the opening look of a solid bird-embroidered tank top over colour-blocked motorcycle pants walked out, it was clear Giles’ autumn outing would be a deviation from the somber romanticism and vampish allure of recent seasons. Set in a darkened strobe-lit car park in London’s East End, the show unrolled on the backdrop of a live band, its frontman sporting just a pair of briefs as models stomped out in all their kingfisher-hued riot gear glory. The toughness of the quilted cut-out trousers, the oversized jumpers, scarred leathers and tuffed tartan coats elucidated a new vision of the Giles girl, who until now had drifted between cartoonish randomness and baroque sophistication. Now, in her lug-soled man’s shoes, product of the designer’s collaboration with Grenson, she brought a raw, streetwise, anarchical energy to Giles’ repertoire. Or as anarchical as it could get considering Cara Delevigne walked with an orange smartphone, taking a sideways selfie as she went down the catwalk. Social media revolution incarnate.
In terms of design, the designer hadn't let go of his avian obsession but instead of the gold feather-laced dresses we saw last autumn or the swan headdresses circa SS12, he had sharp-beaked kingfishers alighting on thorny branches across everything, tops, skirts, perfecto jackets and tunics.
Despite its dainty, bright-feathered facade, it was no coincidence Giles chose a particularly predatorial species as his leading motif. That, and the crepuscular prints and stag beetles crawling up white silk (a throwback to the leather beetle-molded accessories from his now legendary 2004 debut) showed that the underlying change in mood hadn't extinguished the macabre nucleus of the Giles heart. It came most vividly to life in the floor-sweeping finale gown, a full-length silk T-shirt with swathes of black fabric on the side,or what a Siouxsie fangirl would have rocked up in on the red carpet.
As for whether Giles' new direction was, as social media vernacular goes, a 'win' or a 'fail' (and this reviewer is leaning towards the former), it delivered a show along with the clothes. And in the increasingly retail-orientated fashion week landscape, that was a triumph.