The designer, recently tapped as Ungaros creative director, shared anecdotes illuminating his influences, methodology and career development in a wide-ranging conversation with Whitechapel Director Iwona Blazwick.
The two kicked off the evening by chatting about some of Deacons favourite contemporary artists, including Richard Wright, Rebecca Warren, Colin Self and John Currin many of whom celebrate voluptuous female forms in their work. Body diversity is something Deacon seeks to embrace in his show castings, he said.
Im interested in women who have got character and experience and an opinion about things, he explained. Its very much to do with characters
. I dont like acres of faceless girls walking.
Collections for his own label have drawn inspiration from sources as varied as Roger Corman films, Pac-Man and Schiaparelli-Dali prints. I like the obliqueness and lots of ideas to come into something, he said, preferring an amalgam of visual touchstones to more straightforward, I went to Bali-type inspiration.
His diverse references turn up season after season in delightfully dark prints: bloody Bambi (Hilarious), fishing flies (my dad ordered them from Canada), angry clouds (that was drawn on an airplane, mid-storm) and of course, those psychedelic tarantulas.
There were some pretty well-known store directors who actually wouldnt come into the showroom because they were so scared of spiders, he said.
Despite his new Ungaro role taking him to Paris and a frantic schedule producing 10 collections a year (Its quite a workload), Deacon said hell always return to London, the city where he got his start. I love London. Wherever Ive lived, Ive always had my flat here.