The acclaimed London-based designer (whose namesake brand is approaching its 20th anniversary) spoke with us about the one person he wishes he could have dressed, the historic time period he finds most inspiring and his favorite works on Platform.
What have you been up to lately?
I've been traveling a lot: India, Ireland, Spain and the US in the last two months. I’ve been researching and working on the next collection.
What kind of art would you say you're drawn to?
I have always been drawn to portraiture. I love artists like Anne Collier, Patrick Procktor, Kaye Donachie and Lisa Brice.
A lot of artists and designers look to specific people for inspiration. Do you have a muse?
No. Every season she, he or they change, but I often think of them as chapters in the same book.
Are there any historical figures whose taste or style you really admire?
Many. Particularly Deborah Mitford, who became the Duchess of Devonshire. She loved Lucien Freud as much as she loved Elvis.
If you could dress anyone in history, dead or alive, who would it be?
Marlene Dietrich. I love her in men’s clothes as much as I love her in women’s.
Your work references all sorts of aesthetic movements from the past. Is there a particular era in history that you keep coming back to?
I often refer to the time period in between the two world wars. There was a sense of freedom, but there were shadows looming.
When you launched menswear, you said that you were thinking about the Erdem woman’s brother who borrows her sweaters. It sounded like a refreshing and overdue acknowledgment of the importance of queer customers in men’s fashion. How does queer culture and history influence your work and beyond?
As a gay person, I’ve always been inspired by queer culture. In a way, I almost don’t believe in the term queerness, as it were, as it is a part of everything and everyone. Historically speaking, everyone from Fanny and Stella to Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. The queer narrative is so wide and far-reaching.
What do you have coming up that you’re excited about, work-related or otherwise?
I’m working on the next show, which I’m so excited about. I’m also getting ready for my 20-year anniversary, which I can’t believe is around the corner.
I also designed costumes for the Royal Ballet back in 2018 for Corybantic Games, which is coming back into the repertoire in June. I’m very excited to see the updated costumes back on stage at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.