By  on November 7, 2006

LONDON — Giles Deacon has joined the march into the mass market.The London designer, who scooped the Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards last week, will create a capsule collection for the British retailer New Look beginning with the spring season.Called Gold, the collection will launch in mid-March and be sold at 50 New Look stores in the U.K. and abroad, including units in Paris, Dublin, Antwerp and Dubai.Drew Barrymore will be featured in the ad campaign, which was styled by Deacon's longtime collaborator and editor of Pop magazine, Katie Grand, and was shot last week by Solve Sunsbo."I really wanted to do a long-term collaboration, and New Look doesn't have a huge stable of other designers," said Deacon. "And they're terrific to work with — they just really get it."Sarah Walter, head of fashion communications at New Look, said that, while the company has in the past collaborated with other designers — including Luella Bartley, Katie Hillier, Georgina Goodman and Eley Kishimoto — it's done nothing on this scale before."It's a full, formulated, 35-piece collection, with full gondolas planned for the store windows," said Walter. "We've made a formal, long-term arrangement with Giles, who's bang on the money for us."The collection will feature party and day dresses, jeans, T-shirts and a host of accessories including shoes, bags, sunglasses, bangles and earrings. There will be four collections a year, and prices range from 20 pounds, or $38, for jeans and tops, to 90 pounds, or $170, for a beaded dress. "We've fitted everything, and it's all very hands-on. We've put our name to it, and we believe in it," Deacon said.Walter added that design generally was the key to success on the high street. "Everybody is entitled to good design — and it's not just about having a name. Over the past two years, we've beefed up our fashion team to 24 in-house designers. The only way to differentiate yourself on the high street is through design," she said.Deacon is the latest European designer to join forces with a mass market fashion brand. Last week, Roland Mouret unveiled a collection of 10 dresses for Gap. "Design is the way forward on the high street," said Stephen Sunnucks, president of Europe, Gap Inc. International. Before joining Gap, Sunnucks had been chief executive officer of New Look.Mouret's line made its debut just hours after Viktor & Rolf's collection for H&M was shown in Los Angeles. H&M blazed the trail of high-profile, high-street designer collaborations, hiring Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney in past seasons. Topshop has been collaborating with designers — including Celia Birtwell, Zandra Rhodes, Sophia Kokosalaki, Marcus Lupfer and Preen — for years, dedicating a special section to them on the lower ground floor of the Oxford Circus flagship.Topshop's Birtwell collection was so successful — the store had to ration customers to two items each — the retailer last week said it will offer up a second one, which will hit shop floors on Nov. 20 and 27.

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