That National Geographic collection that you did for Louis Vuitton men’s wear this summer, was that your intuition? I love that collection.
MJ: Yeah, me too. You know I’m very happy with the team that does men’s wear for us, with Keith, and with Olivier and Willy and Peter. I sometimes wish I were more involved. but men’s wear is not something I’m really good at. In fact, men’s fashion frightens me. I really find men who are fashionably dressed terribly unsexy. I think fashion is something for women. It’s a terribly sexist thing to say, but I just don’t find fashionably dressed men attractive, and men who take too much time in the bathroom and spend too much time on their body, I find a bit poncy and silly. It just doesn’t turn me on. So I let it go to the people who find it a turn-on and who are really passionate about it.
It’s weird to have your name put on the collections they make, isn’t it?
MJ: It is. I feel a certain amount of shame. I feel a bit fraudulent in saying that I’ve been doing this men’s wear collection when I haven’t had daily involvement in it. Although I can say very honestly I don’t do every part of the women’s collection, I am involved in every aspect of the women’s collection. But with the men’s, it’s a bit different. I feel like a bit of a fraud, and that’s what’s tough for me. I don’t know what other designers feel, but I just don’t like to pretend that I’m something that I’m not. I’m not superman and I don’t do everything.
So maybe I'm biased, but after reading that I just lost a lot of respect for the great American designer that is MJ. You feel slightly "fraudulent," MJ? Obviously you don't feel too poorly about taking credit for another's work. That's what most of us call "cheating" or "plagiarism." Now that's just wrong. I mean, it's one thing to lead your design team and have input like all the other designers do, but just leaving the whole line to your team of unknowns, and then stamping your name on the final product is another thing on its own. And why the heck are you dabbling in something you're not even passionate about? Stick to what you know and love -- there's a reason Manolo isn't commissioned by the army to do combat boots.
Ms. Philo gave birth last December, and had been on maternity leave. Her team was left with the task of designing Chloe's Fall/Winter 2005 collection, which was "bursting with the label's hot sellers: billowing bodice-front dresses, neat little jackets and military inspired coats," according to The Observer. Come March, when Chloe's line debuted on the Paris runway, Ms. Philo took a front-row seat to watch the show and let her design team take the bow and applause. When asked about her decision to temporarily take the back seat, she replied:
I did not feel like bullshitting, to be honest. It was not my work and I was not going to walk out at the end. I wanted to do it, it felt right, and part of that was me saying it is OK to be a mum and take time off. It's normal.
I hate to be biased, but I just laid it out for you to make your own decision. Right now, I'm really leaning towards the cool Ms. Philo. I like her designs better anyway. But for all you MJ fans out there (and I know there's a lot of you) that I just royally vexed, I leave you with an MJ quote from the same interview that I can actually respect:
...I don't believe in fashion dictatorship, and I find that anybody who follows the dictates of fashion is a bit lost. I'm excited by style, not so much by fashion.
I like this one too:
I don't really find clothes terribly sexy...I find people sexy. Clothes to me aren't sexy. Like, a dress isn't sexy. Maybe the girl who wears it is sexy.
See? I appreciate MJ, too....sometimes...