London, England – “You may lead the seasons on,” said Shakespeare in his poem dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I. Giles’ SS16 collection was surrounded by an aura of royalty, a reincarnation of the Elizabethan-era and literature.
The scene at Giles’ was almost like stepping into a time machine. Present- ing in front of A-list celebrities, clients and key publications; was like everyone visiting the Queen’s court. Giles is never a disappointment in entertaining the guests; Maya Singer from Vogue Runway described his SS15 show as: “Every so often, a fashion show is really a show.” This season this was guaranteed as he booked the monarchical Banqueting House, White- hall location a year in advance.
Giles this season undertook the process of dressing Queen Elizabeth I with a twist – no corsets. His A-list cast of models with naturally lithe bodies strutted through the venue as if they were at Studio 54 – with a bonus appearance of Ana Cleveland playing the Fool from King Lear. This Elizabethan-era inspired collection weighed heavily in on the house DNA – shades of satiny Isabelline to coyote brown, enchanted forest prints, virago sleeves, ruffles and ruff collars. All fabrics and embroideries gave a regal quality to the collection.
The admiration of Queen Elizabeth I has been explored by numerous de- signer, from Giles’ fellow classmate Alexander McQueen at Central St. Mar- tins to Valentino. Giles’ interpretation of The Virgin Queen came from a motion of empowerment; Elizabeth I being an independent monarch. The collection was remotely reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent’s power-dressing silhouettes in the 70s; Giles did his own take on the Le Smoking by elongating it in satin material with a new colour palette of efflorescent creams.
This is Giles’s most opulent and experimental season. An echo of the East was woven into the pieces. The tapestries on the trapeze shaped garments were an emulation of Scheherazade’s words: effulgent gardens, colourful birds and kaleidoscopical riches. A true embodiment of royal quality and orientalism.
His take on contemporary Elizabethan fashion was a success for his histo- ricurious clientele; combining voluminous and at shapes – the Harlequin catsuit, aristocratic feathered hats and peasant dresses. His collaboration with David Holah from Bodymap proved to be striking; Holah formed the prints on the bodysuits and caftans from a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I – giving the garments a bohemian aura, which could be seen on Jerry Hall who was sitting front row.
Save the best for last – Queen Elizabeth I rose from the dead as Karen El- son like a phoenix from its ashes; in a dark amethyst sharply laser-cut gown with a micro-laser starburst back extension resembling a peacock’s tail; complete with crimson hair and make-up. A costume appropriate for Giles’ Game of Thrones girlfriend Gwendoline Christie.