Designer Giles Deacon on His Aspinal of London Collection, the Royals, and Pippa Middleton

His handbags just dropped at Barneys New York.

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Giles Deacon is one the most renowned British designers in the industry, having worked at the likes of Gucci and Bottega Veneta. His experiences are unparalleled: Deacon's done everything from ready-to-wear to couture and bespoke clothing, the latter of which he creates for private clients. Perhaps one of the most famous of those clients: Pippa Middleton. Deacon designed her wedding dress.

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Pippa said her "I do's" to James Matthews in a Deacon dress on May 20, 2017.

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"It was a great privilege to receive the commission," he shares. "You never know how the public will react when you put your creation out there, as much as you yourself loved it. So for the dress to be so globally recognized was just phenomenal."

Though Deacon was mum on the exact details of Pippa's bridal look (stars like their privacy), he tells me that he was there every step of the way for fittings and to make sure Pippa looked amazing on her big day. If you recall, the socialite and little sis to Kate Middleton wore a gorgeous high-collar lace wedding gown with an open back for her 2017 nuptials. When asked how he felt seeing Pippa in the final look, Deacon says, "I was absolutely thrilled with the end result. I think she looked fantastic and I was so happy with the end result."

His connections to the royal family, however, don't end there. Just last month, Deacon became design director at Aspinal of London (opens in new tab), a British handbag brand beloved by none other than the Duchess of Cambridge.

"I was only appointed about 10 days ago, so I’m jumping right into the job," he says with a chuckle. "Kate actually wore one of our bags last month (opens in new tab) and there was a surge for it on the website. We never know when she’ll wear Aspinal of London because [the royals are] not allowed gifts. But this shows they organically love the brand and want to support it."

The "Kate Middleton effect (opens in new tab)" is indeed still very real.

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Kate Middleton carried the midi mayfair in lilac from Aspinal of London (shop it here (opens in new tab)) when she attended the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit on October 9, 2018 in London.

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As the brand's new head, Deacon oversees its core line and conceptualizes two collections a year (in addition to running his own couture business, of course). In July, before he took on the role, Deacon worked on a special capsule collection with Aspinal of London (opens in new tab)—his first major moment with the retailer. The pieces range from a tote bag to mini hatbox to luggage tags, which feature prints of "very modern and cosmopolitan ladies." The collection officially launched this week in the U.S. at Barneys New York (opens in new tab).

"I love the aesthetic of the bags because they're very structured and beautifully made. I thought it would be great to do Aspinal through my eyes and get those techniques I use within my couture work into the capsule collection. I used a lot of prints, colors, and texture," he says.

Yes, Kate and Pippa love the brand (opens in new tab), but Deacon says that business women are top customers, gravitating towards the bags for their structure and functionality. The question now remains: Will Meghan Markle be the next royal to wear something from the brand? We'll just have to wait and see.

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(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)
Marina Liao
Marina Liao

Marina Liao is the former fashion news editor at MarieClaire.com, where she covered celebrity style (from Meghan Markle to Katie Holmes), fashion trends, and shopping advice, plus conducted original interviews with industry insiders. She's also had many opportunities to write content in other areas such as beauty, food, tech, and even home. Her previous fashion stints include POPSUGAR and Cosmopolitan.