It’s just two minutes before the first model sets a ruby-slipper-shod foot onto the catwalk and Giles Deacon is telling a group of fashion editors how he achieved a black-and-white rose print that’s scattered across the Fifties-style tea dresses he’s designed for next spring. “It’s just from a photograph I took in Kew Gardens," he says. “I put it into the computer and played with it." This nerdy explanation is what the fashion press has come to expect from the bespectacled designer who collects insects and regularly invites Su Pollard to his shows.
Deacon uses his digital camera for everything from videoing garments to show foreign clients – “you can see so much more than in a 2D image" – to photographing flowers, chandeliers and anything else that takes his fancy. The latter often get turned into the ultra-modern photoprints that have become his trademark.
Exploiting digital technology doesn’t necessarily make his work easier, though. “The process we have to go through is quite complicated," he says of his prints. The first stage is taking the photographs. He works with print expert Rory Crichton, who also consults for Marc Jacobs.
“We just sit at the computer, printing things out, scanning them in, changing them," he continues. “When we first print them out, they can look really clumsy. With that floral print, we decided to print it onto this pastel-coloured background and blur the images off so they all seemed to bleed into one another, which is something you’d think is quite easy but is actually quite difficult to get right. That took quite a long time." Even once the design looks right on screen, the colours have to be adjusted.
"I also use the internet for imagery. For instance, I used it to find all the images of Bambi that were out there when I was researching our Who Killed Bambi? print," he says. “I use the internet mostly for photo research, whatever Google chucks up. I probably use Google Images the most."
For the past year, Deacon’s studio has been working on an animation project for Pioneer. “I’m taking all the shots from the fittings and sketches and making them into an animated film," he explains. “I like projects that show how you start off and where you end up, the designs that no one ever sees. I think it’s interesting to see the things that didn’t work, so we’ve been documenting all that over the past year, digitally too. It’s all stored on the computer."
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