Got a call from Justine Fairgrieve (the founder of Relative): "Giles has invited you over for a cuppa and a look at his pre-fall, fancy it?" Prefall is a current working obsession. Giles is funny, charming and a very smart designer who never takes himself too seriously and yet has a very serious business creating collections for his own line GILES, new client Ungaro and various other projects. I was there.
Giles thinks his data bend print maxi dress is "a bit Eva Beadle in Little House on The Prairie" (She was the school mistress). I think its beautiful - Giles, consider this a personal order!
Why the prefall obsession? Fashion consumers desire for frequent deliveries on new product has made the inbetween collections pretty major. So these days while the runway shows are designed to create media buzz and set trends, pre sets the agenda for how we will actually dress and offers a hint of what might come in the mainline.
Did you know we are in fact far more likely to end up wearing"pre" collections for our daily working and social lives. Why? Because its what the stores buy most of! Tom Chapman the co-owner of Matches recently told me pre collections constitute the majority of their buy.
Evidence of how the pre category has vaulted to high importance status was demonstrated last week when several of the world's eminent fashion editors and designers congregated in New York to view/show pre-fall collections. Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Balenciaga and Celine presented in showroom. Lanvin even had a pre-fall fashion show. You can view them on American Vogue's website, or better still read this precis by the lovely Sarah Mower at Vogue.com, then view.
The week after next the Haute Couture shows will take place in Paris. For the average busy fashion editor there are six significant Couture shows to attend, but for the first time I can remember an equal number of hours will be spent viewing the pre-fall collections from labels ranging from Chloe to YSL.
Along the pre-fall rail at Giles cavernous new studio in The Truman Brewery
Three years ago the Giles pre-fall collection comprised ten dresses. Now it is a 70 piece collection (above) and the stores spend almost as much buying into it as they do on his runway collection. That also tells you how times they are a changin.
"Pre collections can't just be nice basics anymore," he says while flicking through the rail of blouse dress, maxi dress, draped day dress, cropped jackets, jazzy flared trousers and some applique chain detail Miss Haversham evening dresses. I see a lot of GILES best silhouettes reworked in stricter proportions, and a few new ones too like the eye-poppingly intense violet cerise blouse dress below.
The blouse dress in cerise silk crepe and silk satin
GILES collections tend to have one of two moods; playful or strict. This one is veering strict. "Yeah its stricter, tighter, more austere," he says, though there is techno fun to be found in his data bending print. "Data bending is when kids mess with the binary numbering of pixels within photographs. I don't get what they do, but my print designer Rory Crighton ran with it. I think this was achieved by lifting the scanner lid..."
Ooh trippy! The data bend print again. I shook the camera a tiny bit for effect.
"You need workness. It can't be boring. Really, I see this as setting the agenda for how I move forward on the runway collection."
All Giles hangers have the little goggle eyes. So cute!
Then it's time for tea and we discuss the inspirations for his runway show, (to be revealed later) and he shows me the venue for his Ungaro show in Paris on March 7th. It is a government building that has never been used for a fashion show, and it took 11 years of asking for Ungaro to be allowed to use it. Judging from the pictures the ambiance of the Ungaro show will be utterly magical.
The Katie Grand styled lookbook images getting laid out for running order.
Pre-fall hits shops at the end of June. For more pre-fall check back Monday when Fashion Editor at Large picks her personal top ten from the collections so far, and Fashion Junior at Large picks her top five.
HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND!