Late into the evening, under the shadowy arches of the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, Giles Deacon showed a collection of high-baroque dresses, and the best-dressed swans since Björk at the Oscars. Britain’s most fashionable fowl, the Mute Swan, was everywhere – on striking Swan-print dresses with violet-dip-dyed ostrich feather trims, on abstract prints of blurry waterbirds melting away into dark hallucinations. The show started with the girl in the white swan headdress, as well as matching mask and liquid white suit; then, towards the end, the black swan appeared, dramatically, atop a sheer, long-sleeved blouse and slinky black trousers; and then, as a finale, the crazed red swan… beak open, wings flailing, feathers trailing down a flowing white waterfall of a gown! It all felt very Black Swan (with a dash of Where The Wild Things Are) but backstage Giles explained that his actual inspirations were so much more esoteric: a clockwork-driven Silver Swan music box from 18th-century Britain, in the Bowes Museum in County Durham; elegant images of swans snapped by Cecil Beaton in the early 20th century; and Andy Warhol’s show of Silver Clouds, actually metallic helium balloons let loose in a gallery.
Text: Dean Kissick
Photography: Mitchell Sams