As Giles Deacon launches a new, free-spirited jewellery line with QVC, we speak to the legendary designer about his contemporary, playful creations and the importance of taking risks on the red carpet. Take a look at what he has to say, along with pieces from the new collection, below
Interview: Lauren Smith
How did the collaboration with QVC come about?
Well I’d been a big fan of QVC’s designer collaborations for a while, and I’d been doing my own jewellery line for about four years, so when it seemed like the right timeto do a link up with someone, to get my pieces out to a much broader audience than previously- the natural place to do that was at QVC.
For them, I think it was a chance to bring a more fashion-forward, directional jewellery line on board, and to bring in a younger customer. And as everything is at a nice price point, around £14-70, it’s all super affordable, but the quality is still really good for it. It’s still got that statement thing that people look for in our pieces – it’s a chance for people to get a little bit of Giles in their life for less.
Why the name Libertine?
I wanted a bit of a free spirited name that had an outside the box feel, it suits the irreverence of the things I like that inspired the collection –from the Edwardian punk garden with all the thorns and the beetles, which you can see on the bugs on brooches and bangles, and the odd scorpion claw, to designs based on some of the illustrations I did for Matches, and the pieces that are an homage to a certain 1970s Disco band (the Village people!) – there’s lots of little characters you can see in each piece.
You’ve done several collaborations, but jewellery is one of the products you’ve done a lot of (Giles has created jewellery for H Samuel and in his line for New Look, as well as in his own runway collections) – why are you drawn to it in particular?
I like anything decorative, so designing those sort of products really suits me – it means I can create pieces that are interesting and those that are able to combine all the elements of design that I like within one product. And from a price point aspect, it’s good to design something people can actually afford and will want to buy.
How does this line differ to your previous jewellery collections?
Some of my jewellery before, with giant fabric flowers etc, has had quite extravagant design, but the pieces in this collection were a lot more precise in their make – and obviously the price points were very different. I’ll always continue to do both , but it’s good to try and hone it down and discover what people are really responding to – one of the benefits about collaborating with QVC is that you’re trying to get really good sales – you have to design things people actually want.
And did you have anyone in mind in particular when you were designing?
I never have one woman I design for, but I design for people who like quality, people who like a bit of playfulness with it. And I like to create something for them that’s special and conversational – so when they put one of my pieces on for going out on a night with their mates, or to work, someone will want to have a chat to you about it - I’m never going to do wallflower jewellery!
Do you have any styling tips for how to wear this collection?
Sadly, as I’m not Gok Wan, I can’t offer that many (laughs)– but I would say just pick a piece that you’re attracted to – one is a good starting point– throw it on with whatever you’re wearing, and see how it rolls.
Do you have a favourite piece?
It’s probably the pop tart bangle – it’s got that illustrative element to it, and a lovely colour, but I also love the scorpion piece too – what I like is that that’s going to appear to a totally different girl. The joy of designing a 16 piece range is that it’s broad enough to be that magpie piece for lots of different people.
Statement jewellery has been huge on the catwalk and on the red carpet. Do you think this is something that’s going to continue, or they’ll be a backlash and we’ll all want to go minimal?
Historically statement jewellery has always been popular - right back to the movie stars of the 1930s when they all wore Tiffany jewels to premieres – and I think it always will be. It’s because they just work - if you get the right elements to go with your jewellery, just one piece really can make your look strong.
Are you inspired by those classic jewellery designers, such as Tiffany?
Yes, there’s definitely elements that inspired me – especially the naturalistic elements some of those designer use, but I like to get contemporary, pop culture references in there with my designs too, even if it’s from the 1970s like with this collection– if that can be considered contemporary!
We’ve just had red carpet season…and quite a few celebrities were seen wearing your designs…
Yes, the lovely Kerry Washington looked absolutely exquisite wearing one of my dresses. It was a very brave choice - I adore that dress, and it was very good of her to wear it, but it wasn’t necessarily an easy one to ‘do’ on the red carpet.
What I like about Kerry is that she obviously gets fashion and has great style, and she doesn’t look like she’s wearing bland occasion-wear - and to push actual design on the red carpet is really great. Everything she’s worn this award season has been really strong and different.
Then there was Thandie Newton at the Golden Globes who looked beautiful – I like how she went for a short dress, although I don’t think the Americans got it – they found it confusing because it wasn’t a traditional long gown!
I think it’s great that girls like Kerry and Thandie are willing to go with something that’s much more design-led and very fashion, and not something that’s been seen a million times before. You want to say (to other people on the red carpet), 'Come on girls, play up a bit,' don’t you think? I’m mentioning no names, but some of the girls and the looks you see, you don’t need to see again for another ten years as they will always be the same!
Quite! Back to the QVC collaboration - please tell us you’ll be on TV, presenting?
Yep, I’m going to be on the telly! The whole slot is an hour, and I’ll be on for some of it, although not all of it – I’ll leave the rest to the selling team who know what they’re doing! But I’ll come on and do some chatting. I’m really excited to see how it works – and we’re in conversations with QVC America at the moment , and China and Japan next – so watch this space!
The Libertine by Giles Deacon jewellery collection is available on qvcuk.com