Revolution, love and goat skin clogs - interview with Johnny Blue Eyes
A topless Alice Dellal, Beth Ditto and bringing Kate Moss out of catwalk modeling retirement signaled the first House of BlueEyes catwalk show last season. Now having styled the Scissor Sisters, Gossip, making pieces for Lady Gaga, and with his presentation at Vauxhall Fashion Scout this fashion week mere days away, The Fashion Scout’s Emma Drinnan finds out more about the man behind the label.
“When the opportunity to be involved with Vauxhall Fashion Scout came up I was thrilled, so were the designers. The influences I have and how the show looks is important to what I do. The show is really the platform to our utopian House of BlueEyes world,” explains the enigmatic Johnny Blue Eyes.
House of BlueEyes comprises a ten strong team including Johnny, he likes to surround himself with people who challenge him. “The fashion world is generally very hierarchical, people are always under the impression that the designer has designed all those pieces and that’s just not true.” Johnny wants to shine the light onto every talented creative he works with.
“I’m interested in the idea of helping people just be themselves. I don’t care what you look like, we are all individuals. Fashion should work with each person, we are all different in this world, we look different, think differently, are inspired by different things.” With his AW10 collection (a little insight for you) it’s really celebrating true individualism. “It’s ok to be the person you are, fall in love with yourself,” muses the designer.
Johnny has said that he has become the person he dreamt of being as a child. He never went to art or fashion school, he actually got thrown out of school aged fifteen. “People are obsessed with education, do you have to have been to art school to say whether you are an artist or not? Me - I give a long red painted fingernail middle finger up to that, if you’re an artist you are an artist,” he declares passionately.
“I have forged my way through so I can go out there and now buy goat skin clogs from Paris” Johnny only half jokes. “I think working in fashion seems like an impenetrable world but my story gives hope to all people out there. It can happen to you, the important thing is to learn and work."
Work isn’t something Johnny shies away from- indeed previous incarnations have seen him work as a carpenter, an estate agent and a Portobello trader, “I love markets in general but my heart is at Portobello and I hope to God it survives. I used to have a stall down there years ago, I sold to some of the largest fashion houses in the world”. Less conventionally he also worked a go-go dancer in New York, “I used to just wear a wig, pants and high heels, it was about freedom of expression.”
House of BlueEyes was born in New York in 1993, inspired by Warhol and the silver factory of late sixties New York, channeling the freedom and expression of ideas. “House of BlueEyes is a movement in the same way as punk or acid house. I want House of BlueEyes to be known worldwide. I’m looking for global domination of love. I think of the label becoming a modern day Biba, it’s fashion, it’s art, it’s performance, it’s make-up, it’s everything.” Bold claims, but if anyone can do it then Johnny Blue Eyes can.
The House of BlueEyes presentation, showing on Saturday 20th, is entitled ‘Revolution and Love’ and aims to take you into a world “full of beauty, art, elegance and fierceness - being proud of the person you are. When you come to the show I want your mouth to drop. I want you to be moved. I want you to go away and say that was amazing, I want that dress, I want those shoes, I want that energy.”
“If I wasn’t me and I wasn’t going to my own show, I would fucking want to go.”
Image: Ana Matronic from the Scissor Sisters and Beth Ditto