The first thing you notice is his blue eyes. He has even features, a fair complexion.
He seems calm and poised and it would appear I’m in luck: Jonathan William Anderson doesn’t talk to the press much.
The first time I met him was during an exhibition at the Vuitton Foundation, then I ran into him again several times in a few months in Paris, in the district of Saint Germain or on Avenue Montaigne, then again at Art Basel Miami.
He reads JBH Reports.
We always talk about art, and I understood that he is surely the youngest fashion designer (he was born in 1984) who is most sincerely involved in this field. The Northern Irish designer has had his own label that bears his name since 2008. At his catwalk shows he conjures up works of art.
Since 2013 he has been the creative director at Loewe, the fashion house of Spanish origin owned by the LVMH group for whom he has even conceived a corporate collection.
I know nothing about fashion, but I see the recognition in the faces of people I talk to from the industry when I mention Jonathan Anderson.
He is particularly well regarded. Jonathan may work in fashion, but he isn’t a fan of passing fads in the art world. There’s no snobbery with him to do with the cool artist of the moment promoted by the famous gallery…
He doesn’t like the fact that certain young artists are sold for astronomical prices.
You find yourself struck by his knowledge that veers off the beaten track. He is very sensitive to materials and particularly keen on ceramics. He likes photography and brings up Peter Hujar, the New York artist who was one of Robert Mapplethorpe’s rivals in the 1980s and who died before him of AIDS.
And he also seems taken aback and disappointed that a historic painting by David Hockney, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)”, a rare Californian Pop Art painting typical of 1972, a British art treasure that he posted a picture of on Instagram is to be put on sale this November in New York with an estimate of 80 million dollars.
Jonathan preserves a certain common sense in the midst of all the frills of the fashion industry and art from his country strikes a chord.
Yet his aesthetic interests know no borders, nor are they confined by time, space or discipline. He collects. He displays art. He exhibits.
It would seem that his experience as a curator at the Hepworth Wakefield museum was very important for him. In 2017 he conceived an exhibition at the museum designed by David Chipperfield dedicated to British modern art, in which he mixed clothing with artworks under the title “Disobedient Bodies”.
From Barbara Hepworth to Sarah Lucas, from Henry Moore to Issey Miyake and Vivienne Westwood…
Full and empty bodies in space.
We arranged to meet at the Café des Deux Magots in Saint Germain des Près. He likes it there because you don’t encounter many people. It was around the time of the fashion shows in Paris. He applied himself 100% to the one-minute questions game. Efficient. Quick. No fuss.
Don’t miss his final answer on the memory he’d like to leave behind.
Last year you curated a show at the Hepworth Wakefield. You’ve curated a corporate collection for Loewe. You seem very committed to Art. Can you explain this?
How do you manage to make selections for the Loewe collection?
What’s the relationship between fashion and Art?
Can we say that fashion design is an art or that fashion shows are performances?
Recently you posted about a David Hockney painting which will soon be presented at auction. Why are you sad about this painting?
What’s your next dream in Art?
What would you like people to remember about you?
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