Giles Deacon poses with his mannequins
Giles Deacon and Ann Summers? We weren't entirely convinced either when we first heard that the designer and lingerie brand were collaborating on a collection.
But then when we thought about Giles' past collaborations, and the sense of playfulness and humour he brings to every collection, and we realised that it wasn't as unlikely a marriage as we first thought.
And as for Ann Summers bagging a design talent such as Giles? That has to be something of a coup.
'I was a bit like 'do you really need to see some more T-shirts done by me'?', Giles told us as he showed us around his new collection. 'I wanted to do something different and met up with Jacqueline [Gold, Chief Executive of Ann Summers] and thought "wow that could be something really interesting."'
So what is the collection like? Well firstly, forget all those pre-conceived ideas you may have about Ann Summers – about fluffy handcuffs and rubbery toys – Giles's designs are pretty, playful, and dare, we say, even functional. Well, some of them – the underwear sets are all still on the flirty side.
For someone who's relatively new to the whole lingerie thing, Giles has certainly got a grasp (for want of a better word) of women's underwear. It must have been all the Ann Summer parties he's been attending. 'You can't keep me away from them,' he joked. 'Great research. Although at my first meeting I did think "What would my mother say?"
So where, apart form the parties, did he find his inspiration for his collection?
'I looked to lots of things, from early Betty Paige pieces through to Helmut Newton photographs, dear friends of mine Mert and Marcus's shoots and Katie's [Grand] shoots. And then chatting to a good cross section of girlfriends of mine who are all very different. Some are extrovert, some very conservative and not all are fashion girls either. The feedback was really surprising on who would like what, and I'll tell you something – it was the exact opposite of what I thought', Giles said with a wink.
The question is, will Giles's collection reach out to the customer who would previously only go to Agent Provocateur for their naughties? 'Hopefully, and I think it will,' Giles said.
'The feedback has been so diverse. I've had glossy magazine editors wanting pieces, and also stallholders in Manchester who want to sell it.'
'Customers are very savvy and they know if something's been designed and had appropriate effort put into it. Once they've seen the quality of it, they'll go for it.'
Plus, with prices starting at just £20 for a brief, and £40 for a bra, you won't resent spending money on lingerie that you might only wear on special occasions.
The designer also hinted at the possibilty of creating swimwear for the brand – this is a three-year collaboration, after all. But Ann Summers aside, this is the last collaboration Giles will be undertaking for a while. With London Fashion Week just round the corner, and a pre collection to show in New York next month, he's certianly got his hands full.
But Giles has found time to do another bit for charity – the designer will be kitting out the nurses at Great Ormond Street hopsital very soon. Perhaps they could wear some Ann Summer's smalls underneath? 'We'd have to do a sideline in pacemakers then!' Giles laughed.
Giles Deacon for Ann Summers is available in store now.
By Olivia Marks