Kim Jones’s 10 People To Meet
What do Zayn Malik, make-up maestro Peter Philips and design duo Verbal and Yoon have in common? Kim Jones. Sorry – if you were expecting a joke, that probably wasn’t the punchline you thought you were going to get. What I was trying to do, in an admittedly not very elegant way, was introduce this portfolio of phenomenal people curated by exceptional designer and Louis Vuitton men’s head honcho, Kim Jones. But allow me, it’s 8.30am and I haven’t had a cup of tea yet. I guess I’ve done it now, though.
But let’s begin with the man himself. Widely accepted as one of the leading designers in fashion, Kim Jones says menswear is “not about fantasy”. This might come as a bit of a surprise to some, because for lots of people, myself included, his clothes represent just that: fantasy. “It has to be real and functional,” he explains. “Functionality is the most important thing to me when designing.”
Since his appointment at Louis Vuitton in 2011, Jones has received widespread acclaim for these products and for his utterly compelling approach to men’s clothing, which, in addition to functionality, marries his affinities with the 1980s London club scene, street fashion and travel.Something else that has characterised Jones’s tenure at Louis Vuitton is the element of collaboration, as the past five years have seen him partner with some of the most interesting and innovative creators working today. They include members of that London club scene that inspires him, such as jewellery designer and underground icon Judy Blame, who created a series of off-kilter accessories for his AW15 collection; the notorious Britart brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman, who he collaborated with for AW13, and again this season on a series of safari prints; and the illustrator Gordon Flores, who has imagined exquisite prints and embroideries for the house for several seasons now.
Before we delved deeper into the worlds of the top talents Jones chose for this list , he told us more about his approach, the role collaboration plays in his work for Louis Vuitton, and what unites this diverse group of creators.
Ted Stansfield: What does this group of people you have chosen have in common?
Kim Jones: “For most of them we are friends and they are all very talented in their field, which I find inspiring.”
TS: What qualities do you look for in people you collaborate with?
KJ: “I don’t ever intend to collaborate unless it fits perfectly for the time… like the Chapman brothers’ safari prints, for instance.”
TS: Why is collaboration so central to the way you work?
KJ: “Well, for such a big brand you need to add excitement to every collection. Brands this big rely on a vast pool of talents and I feel very lucky to be able to guide the menswear team.”
TS: What do you think Louis Vuitton’s customers are looking for?
KJ: “I think they are looking for beautiful products that are practical and suit their lifestyle.”
TS: How would you define your approach to menswear?
KJ: “I am not designing for myself. It is always a response to our customers’ needs. It’s a lot of observation and discussion with the store associates and clients who I meet when I travel.”
Explore the rest of the rest of the 10 in the Reccomended Posts below…
Text by Ted Stansfield
Photographer Daniel Malan
Taken from 10 People To Meet in the latest issue of 10 Men FLUID UNIQUE BRAVE, on newsstands now…