Backstage at the GILES S/S 16 show

GILES’ London Fashion Week shows always have a characterful and diverse casting. For S/S 16 Deacon and Katie Grand put together a unique line-up ranging from rising stars such as Amilna Estevao and Lineisy Montero to bona fide supers including Georgia May Jagger (whose mum was in the front row) and Karen Elson, who closed the show. We caught up with some of the models backstage…

Alek Wek “It’s hard to believe but I’ve never walked for Giles before, even though I’ve always wanted to be part of his shows. When Giles and I met, we both said 'Ah finally, finally!' His clothes are so cool but they’re actually wearable too. I’ve seen what the other girls are wearing and I’m like, nice, nice, nice! The detailing is astonishing. I’m wearing a cream silk dress with a print on the front in chocolate brown and a gorgeous feather hat. The silk is so soft it almost feels like you’re not wearing anything at all. Karen Elson’s dress makes her look like an animal creature, like a peacock. I get the Tudor inspiration and the mix of regal and rough. We’re allowed to walk how we want in this show and you can see how strong and happy the girls are, there’s smiles all around. It brought back memories of when I started modelling and we were encouraged to be ourselves. It was about personal character and that’s a beautiful thing to see.”

Grace Bol “This is my first time walking for Giles and I’m opening too! I’m wearing a blouse and leggings. I feel like Queen Elizabeth I wearing them and they fit perfectly. Giles said to be me to just walk how I feel. I love the setting of the room and the choreography so the show is going to be amazing.”

Erin O'Connor “This is my only show in London this season and tonight I’m wearing the penultimate look, which is a big old number. It will be a fun one to pose in but extraordinarily for me, the look is actually too long! So I’m glad the walk is slow. It’s a dress in motion, it almost doesn’t need a living wearer. It looks graphic and stunning. Giles is a very nice human and very talented. I have lots of his designs in my wardrobe. They’re probably things he’s been looking for for a decade. I should really give them back!”

Eva Herzigova “I am dressed like a Duchess of the court tonight. I have a bustier gown with embroidery of monkeys and all of these other wonderful things. So I don’t think the walk should be sterile but it doesn’t need to be too theatrical either as we’re in such a special place. I will just keep it fresh. There’s something very real and loyal about Giles, which is why we’re here surrounded by so many good people.”

Mari Agory “This is my first season in London and I’m walking for Giles, so I’m excited. I’m wearing a floor-length strapless dress. It has a little bit of a trail and is so light I feel like I can twirl around in it. I like the fact that they’re encouraging us to be ourselves and have fun on the catwalk. My outfit makes me feel very strong, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do yet; you’ll have to watch me!”

Madison Stubbington “I love my outfit. I’m wearing a printed full skirt that has lots of tulle underneath and a jacket to match layered over a gorgeous puffed sleeve shirt. The collection feels so regal so I’m going to be strong but not too serious.”

Issa Lich “I’m wearing a big skirt with a bodysuit, all in a colourful floral print. I get the Tudor realness vibe, so I’m just going rock it out on the catwalk. Let’s see how I feel.”

Words Helen Jennings, Marie-Louise von Haselberg Photography Siobhan Bailey Turner