Yesterday, eccentric British designer Giles Deacon presented a larger-than-life collection based on the life histories of stars — specifically the heroines of Cecil Beaton: showgirls, society girls, and scintillating silver swans. Styled by Katie Grand and soundtracked by her husband, Pulp’s Steve Mackey, it represented the height of London style and sonic synergy coming into play.
“I wanted a shoegaze element,” Deacon told Rolling Stone after his show. That came through with Mackey’s choice of opening track from British doomgazers S.C.U.M., which segued into a similarly dolorous, echo-laden selection from Australia’s HTRK, followed by a twist: the score of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. “I wanted an extremely evocative and atmospheric soundtrack, something to heighten the senses,” Deacon explained. He added that music plays a critical role in his creative process, as he immerses himself entirely in it during each season’s genesis. The collection, he said, could not have happened without musical influence.
Mackey’s score for Deacon’s show felt crucial, as well. Looks that easily could have been written off as foppish or overtly literal (a white smoking suit with matching swan headdress, for example) felt regal in Deacon’s setting of choice. It helped that the show was held in London’s imperious Royal Courts of Justice, but there’s no question that the droning drama of the show’s runway music swayed the audience into a further mode of hushed awe.
Deacon says he can see his larger-scale shows in Paris (where he presents from time to time) as comparable to concert experiences, where every bit of the runway performance is choreographed with a similar methodology to a music event. Would he ever collaborate on a more visible level with the music community? “I’d love to,” he says, but coyly refused further comment.
With the dramatic group finale of Spring 2012’s show — statue-straight models held their arms aloft for a brief instant, before vanishing into darkness — there’s no question Deacon has the theatrical flare, and the tunes, required for an epic style and sound symphony.