In today's difficult retail landscape, many designers have been forced to completely rethink their brand strategies to stay in business, and on Monday, news broke that another well-known label is moving in a different direction this season. According to WWD, Giles Deacon — who was scheduled to present his fall 2016 collection in London on Feb. 22 — is shuttering his eponymous ready-to-wear label and will no longer take part in London Fashion Week. Instead, Giles will shift its focus to private orders, red carpet commissions and couture, and plans to present at couture week in Paris this coming July. Reps for Giles did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
Giles's runway shows are known for their theatricality and top-notch casting — both of which will likely remain a strong suit when Deacon makes his move to the couture calendar. As for his reasoning behind the change, the designer told WWD that he's interested in aligning more closely with the sales delivery schedule. This way, customers won't have to wait six months to shop the collection after seeing it on the runway. "With couture, it means I get to show fall in July, with delivery in September," he said. "My clients will be getting their pieces in season."
Deacon, who's also held stints at Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Ungaro, joins an ever-growing list of designers who are looking to make custom orders a priority: Both Jean Paul Gaultier and Viktor & Rolf recently closed their ready-to-wear labels to focus on haute couture and their fragrance licensing businesses, and New York-based brand Honor put its ready-to-wear collection on hiatus in order to concentrate on bridal and bespoke pieces. In London specifically, Jonathan Saunders (a Kate Middleton favorite) announced that he was shutting down his label last year, and Matthew Williamson recently closed his flagship stores in order to concentrate on direct-to-consumer e-commerce, as well as licensing.
As the debate over whether Fashion Week should become a primarily consumer-facing event grows more fierce, it's looking like more and more industry bigwigs are prioritizing their customers. We'll be keeping a close eye on the calendar for more last minute switch-ups as the fall 2016 shows approach.