For the second instalment of our Friends of Sunspel series, Lou Stoppard kindly invited us to SHOWstudio where we talked about the benefits of finding your own personal uniform that you can depend on, day-in, day-out, and the intrigue of collaborative relationships.
As Editor of Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio, it would be fair to say that Lou Stoppard is a seasoned interviewer. She joined the pioneering company after graduating from Oxford with a first-class degree in History and a subsequent Fashion Journalism MA from Saint Martins, and has since met with a diverse cross-section of the fashion industry’s most influential figures to ask them the burning questions that we all want the answers to.
I don’t really approach interviews by who I want to interview but how I want to interview them. I know that sounds a bit strange but a lot of what we do at SHOWstudio is thinking about all of the different ways that an interview can play out, particularly the video interviews. We have this amazing interview series called , and the set up is visually really stunning; it’s almost like a moving portrait, so you get as much from how the person looks as from what they’re saying. That made me think a lot about the context of an interview and all the different ways that you can do it, and then that made me think about doing my book.
It’s about creative collaboration and profiles different relationships within fashion. There are some amazing people in the book: Inez and Vinoodh, Proenza Schouler, Marc Jacobs with Katie Grand, Rick Owens and Michele Lamy, Mert and Marcus, Vivienne Westwood with Andreas. Each pair gets their own chapter and it’s a really lovely interview with them together. Obviously we are putting some fashion imagery in there but also a lot more ephemeral material, so things like sketches or letters, polaroids, personal objects. It’s quite an intimate project.
A lot of the ethos for it came from SHOWstudio because so much of what we do here is about showing all stages of the creative process so I’ve always been interested in that side of things, and then collaboration seemed to be such a buzz word and everyone was talking about it but I felt like there hadn’t been that much of an attempt to really understand what makes a relationship work. These relationships, they’re like romantic relationships, they’re so diverse and haphazard and strange and sort of particular and peculiar to each pair, so I wanted to do this study of collaboration and I found it fascinating to see how everyone does it so differently. Even just the photographers – Nick is in the book with Daphne Guinness – the photographers all approach things so differently, like Mert and Marcus, they shoot with one camera and pass it between them, whereas Inez and Vinoodh, they have two cameras and they shoot from different positions. It’s just fascinating. Everyone works together in such different ways and that’s what I’ve really loved learning about. I’ve come to think that there are some keys to great collaborations but it’s not like there’s a magic recipe.
I always make time to research a project. You have to force yourself sometimes when you’re really busy, so you have to do it late at night or really early in the morning or when you should be doing other things, but I think having the time to think about something in depth and really explore a concept and pull it apart – that’s kind of in our ethos at SHOWstudio and that’s a real luxury.
I’m incredibly lazy when it comes to fashion so I do really favour basics. I always wear black, white, navy or denim and I tend to wear jeans a lot, or tailored trousers with jumpers. I wear a lot of menswear as well. My favourite designers are menswear designers like Raf Simons or Craig Green. That’s why I like Sunspel because you can just wear a really great T-Shirt or really great jumper and then I wear a lot of jewellery to try and jazz things up. I really like suits as well, so the T-Shirts are great for that because if I’m wearing a suit I don’t like wearing a shirt, I like wearing a slouchy T-Shirt.
I have a few people whose style I really like. I love Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, he’s so chic and I find it really interesting working with Nick (Knight) because he wears the same outfit every day. He always wears a Kilgour suit and these amazing white shirts that he has made for him by Frank Foster. It’s the same every day; you’ll see the colours vary slightly from certain levels of light grey, to a slightly darker grey, and then when he’s shooting he wears these Levi’s, again with the white shirt. I find it really interesting to work alongside someone that has found that outfit that they really like and they wear all the time. I think it has affected my style quite a lot because working in fashion there can be that kind of pressure where you feel like you have to own the latest thing or present yourself in a certain way, whereas I don’t dress up. That performative element of fashion is not something that I really engage with and I think working with Nick has made me really comfortable in that. I do just rock up every day wearing a jumper or a T-Shirt with jeans and that’s kind of like my uniform. It’s really inspiring when you see someone do it every day and not in a kind of precious, stressed way, that’s just how he likes to present himself.
Lou Stoppard’s debut book Together, will be published by Rizzoli in the Autumn of 2016. In the meantime, visit SHOWstudio to watch her interviews and conversations with the likes of Dylan Jones, Sir Paul Smith and Alexandra Shulman.