After much stress at Gatwick Airport, a pathetic amount of snow and a quick kip at a Yotel Japanese-style cubby hole cabin, I'm finally out in Florence where I was invited for the Pitti Immagine tradeshow. This HUUUUUGE tradeshow used to be riveting for its ability to attract elderly gentleman with perfectly folded cravats, just-so document holders and sheeny shiny shoes that The Sartorialist just loves shooting.
It's only in the past few years though that I've noticed that Pitti invite some really interesting guest designers and basically give them carte blanche to do whatever the heck they want within the city of Florence and this has basically resulted in a series of freeform presentations each season before the menswear shows begin. The one that really mind-boggled me was Thom Browne's Pitti performance where he sent out troops of male 50s styled workers who typed away simultaneously with a slick nod to Mad Men. Last season of course, Proenza Schouler were the first womenswear designers invited to do a pre-collection presentation which gave a memorable multi-part performance and photo exhibition in the Villa Petraia’s sixteenth-century gardens. Giles Deacon was invited to take part this season and lo and behold, so egg-cited was I when I got back from the presentation, I'm here uncomfortably listening to news about Haiti on BBC World and typing this.
Now I've never been one to chase pre-collections like my life depends on it. Static straight-ahead model posing in the countless lookbook images quite often blur into one. That's not saying I won't coo at the clothes in person but alas, there's only that much excitement I can feel after browsing on Style.Com. However, after an hour of getting to really poke around and ponder Giles' presentation of his A/W 10 pre-collection at Pitti, it's safe to say it has definitely reinvigorated my enthusiasm for pre-coll.
We were coached to a remote location just outside of Florence where the Richard Ginori porcelain factory was. This was where the presentation took place and whilst workers were still busy toiling away, tucked inside was Giles' presentation which involved a whole lot of plates, plenty of brightly coloured wigs and some paperclips and spanners. Oh and a conveyor belt that shifted plates which shattered in a cage. Plates, paperclips, spanners, wigs and porcelain breakage... all of that whilst the clothes were quietly impressing with sleek cuts and as in most of Giles' work, a subverted refinement. There was less room to 'play' than in his mainline of course, this being a pre-collection but within the defined codes of well-cut dresses, skirts and luxurious fur trimmed jackets, there were still plenty of Giles-esque touches... the paperclip embroidery, the spanner print, aided by Stephen Jones' helping button and paperclip headpieces.
Clothes aside, I often find these presentations are not just about getting across the spirit of the collection but also of the brand itself and with the wondrous setting, the full conviction of the scale (who was the poor soul who had to glue those piles of plates together?!?) and the overall styling, Giles' own signature is well and truly communicated, with a porcelain plate printed with Giles' googly eyes to take away as the final memento. I'm using it to serve some blue cupcakes on. I have no idea why I'm associating blue cupcakes with Giles but there you go... that's the kind of airport-caged, post-show mood I'm in. I may even break it once I'm done serving cupcakes on it.