You have a more interesting life if you wear impressive clothes. Confidence. If you have it, you can make anything look good. It’s really easy to get colors right. It’s really hard to get black – and neutrals – right. Black is certainly a color but it’s also an illusion. You can only go forward by making mistakes. The market is like a language, and you have to be able to understand what they’re saying.
I have an obsession with details and pattern. I think God is the most fantastic designer. You’re only as good as your last collection, which is an enormous pressure. I do not have one theme for each season, I just try to make beautiful clothes all year round. I like the things around me to be beautiful and slightly dreamy, with a feeling of worldliness.
I don’t like trends. They tend to make everybody look the same. I love my beauty. It’s not my fault. I’ve treated the waistcoat as if it were a corset, so that it becomes the first layer in the process of putting clothes on the body. There is constant motion between layering and revealing. Dressing up. People just don’t do it anymore. We have to change that. Attention to detail is of utmost importance when you want to look good.
Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them. I sometimes feel that a pattern is almost a fashion statement in itself. Money doesn’t buy elegance. You can take an inexpensive sheath, add a pretty scarf, gray shoes, and a wonderful bag, and it will always be elegant. I think I’d go mad if I didn’t have a place to escape to. I never look at other people’s work. My mind has to be completely focused on my own illusions.
I try to contrast; life today is full of contrast… We have to change. I still appreciate individuality. Style is much more interesting than fashion, really. I am not interested in the past, except as the road to the future. Jeans represent democracy in fashion. Never in my wildest dreams did I entertain the idea that I would become a fashion designer.
It pains me physically to see a woman victimized, rendered pathetic, by fashion. We must never confuse elegance with snobbery. I didn’t want to be a fashion designer, and for a good half of my career I didn’t like it. I always wanted to do other things. Fashion is a very stressful place to work because of the demands of doing the shows – no one expects a writer to produce two books a year on the dot – but it’s also a very toxic place to work. I didn’t want to be a fashion designer, and for a good half of my career I didn’t like it. I always wanted to do other things.
I like things simple. Design is a series of creative choices – it’s a collaborative effort, an evolutionary process. You choose your fabrics depending upon what you want to say, then you work with mills to get those fabrics. Through the process, you realize what you want it to be. I can design a collection in a day and I always do, cause I’ve always got a load of Italians on my back, moaning that it’s late. Fashion to me has become very disposable; I wanted to get back to craft, to clothes that could last. Men don’t want another man to look at their woman because they don’t know how to handle it.