How We Met: Giles Deacon & Katie Grand

'Kylie was all over Giles, but I waved her off in a taxi and we got together'

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The Independent Online

Giles Deacon 41

A British fashion designer, Deacon worked for Italian label Bottega Veneta and with Tom Ford at Gucci before founding his Giles label in 2003 and being named Designer of the Year at the 2006 British Fashion Awards. His designs, known for their playful glamour, are worn by stars including Drew Barrymore and Thandie Newton. He lives in north London

I remember seeing Katie at St Martins in the early 1990s, but we weren't close friends. I got to know her better when she set up Dazed & Confused with Jefferson [Hack] and Rankin and they had an office with a colour photocopier, which at the time was quite something. I used to go in and use it to do my portfolio.

We spent a lot of time together one summer about 15 years ago, knocking about in Soho. Dazed was really getting going, the East End was just starting to happen, and it was exciting, not in a naïve "anything is possible" way, but there was a real sense of "doing".

We'd not been friends that long when we started going out and that lasted a couple of years. I don't really remember why we broke up now. Definitely nothing dramatic. We were just growing up. But we've been very close ever since and she's one of my best friends. Katie is incredibly funny, loyal and very straightforward. You always know what's what and I really like that about her.

We started working together soon after we broke up. I did some illustrations for Dazed, and we properly started collaborating at Bottega Veneta around 1998 and we've worked together ever since. As a creative consultant, she is incredibly original. What I like is that she makes [a collection] much more about a particular woman or persona.

We have very different visions, but it works. I'll start with something, then Katie will turn it on its head. It can be difficult if we're trying to really work something out, more so perhaps for other people we're working with, but it's never stilted or boring and something really special or beautiful usually comes of it.

I have huge admiration for how Katie has trail-blazed her own thing. It's hard for anyone, but to have your own magazine as a woman, you're fighting a lot of stuff there. But one thing Katie and I share is that if we want to do something, it's just "let's do it", no dithering.

Katie Grand 40

A fashion editor and stylist, Grand is currently editor-in-chief of the bi-annual fashion magazine 'Love', which she founded in 2009. She previously co-founded titles including 'Dazed & Confused' and 'Another'. As a creative consultant, she works with luxury fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Giles and Loewe. She lives in north London

It was always "Bloody Giles!" at St Martins. He was incredibly handsome and all the female tutors thought he was a god. He was one of the few straight men at St Martins and a star pupil and he'd also volunteer to man the bar at parties, which made them love him even more. It used to drive everyone else a bit mad. When he left college and got a placement at Gucci it was another "Bloody Giles, no surprise there" moment.

I was in the first year when he was in his final year. We knew who each other was, but weren't particularly friends at college, but later on, he was working at Debenhams, designing menswear on Oxford Street, and Dazed's offices were in W1 as well, so we'd go out drinking after work most nights. We got so drunk one night at the Atlantic Bar. I was working with Kylie Minogue at the time, so she was there and she thought Giles was incredibly handsome and was all over him. But she left early, so I waved her off in a taxi, Giles and I got together and we went out for a year-and-a-half.

Ours was probably the easiest break-up I've ever had. I just bought him a giant rabbit and left. Giles is incredibly self-sufficient and quite likes his own space.

It was a fun time but I was quite different then. Dazed was a constant battle. I had no idea what my place was, I hadn't started working with any designers. So I was probably quite needy, and Giles was very encouraging about me finding my way.

What I love about Giles is his attention deficit. My husband had a birthday dinner and we rented a house on the coast for the weekend, had a dinner on the Friday night and people stayed over. Six o'clock on Saturday morning, you could hear this rustling downstairs and my husband said, "I bet that's Giles leaving," and sure enough when I got up at 9am I had a text from him saying, "I'm back in the studio in London." He just can't devote significant amounts of time to one thing, except maybe drawing.

He is one of the most purely talented people I know. There's something very impressive about someone whose work is just driven by their skill. And he's getting better at stuff like picking up the phone. 1

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Giles Deacon tweets at @gilesgilesgiles