RICHARD GRAY “owns his own teeth”

June 9th, 2011

Richard Gray of the Sunday Times and 1O & 1O MEN talks to Filep Motwary

Richard Gray is a Taurean – but don’t hold that against him. He studied modern languages at University but hasn’t spoken a word of it since. He loves fashion and carbs and not necessarily in that order.

He was recently followed into the men’s room at Claridges by Morrissey but nothing came of it. Richard owns his own teeth. He is not a virgin. He is however verging on the ridiculous. He writes lots of stuff on fashion for Sunday Times Style, 10 and 10 Men. He’s open to bribery.

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Richard desperately tries to hide a hang over behind his shades in Barcelona at the opening of the W hotel.
Photograph by Alastair Jamieson

RICHARD GRAY: Here I am

FILEP MOTWARY: Oh hi there, how are you Richard?
I’m great thank you. And you? This damn London drizzle is doing nothing for my hair however. It looks like a damn (Prada) mohair jumper…

Hahah, I saw your video review on Prada’s summer 2011 collection a few minutes ago. I was impressed how you pointed out its references. Really it reminded you of menswear?
And there it is: look at my forehead – it’s fuking scrotal! Anyway, yes, Mrs Prada says she gets dressed from the ground up – so shoes first – it’s a starting point for her. The shoes, the multi-layered ‘platforms’ took their cue from menswear, no doubt about that. The clothes, of course, came from elsewhere. BUT this perverted conceit, that cotton is a luxury fabric, is odd (in a good way). It’s political. She’s political. The price of cotton is through the roof! Rice, oil, rubber: the world’s commodity prices are skewed. This was perhaps on Mrs Prada’s mind at the time. She has a lot on her mind.

It seems that you are quite fond of Prada, why?
I think she only finds peace in original thought. There aren’t many fashion designers who share the same mind-space: Rei, Junya, Marc, Raf – we all know who they are. I also think there is something ultimately divisive about a house that caters to the bourgeois – a collective marked by conformity – yet bastardises old ideas/ideals. This is sinister. *Shiver goes down author’s spine*

I completely agree with you! On the other hand, I wish to ask you about the new and upcoming designers-if there are any since everything is fading away so rapidly. How difficult is for someone new to become an establishment these days?
Interestingly my assistant Lizzie(Hi Lizzie) went to the St Martins BA fashion design show last week. She said you could feel a move away from classics of the past two seasons and far more adventurous designs one the catwalk now. Good. I suspect however, that young design graduates have more of an eye for business than those of, say, five years ago. They recognize there’s validity in getting your clothes produced and people wearing them. And, more importantly, St Martins and London College of Fashion, the Royal College of Art etc. are now focusing more on the business of fashion. It’s still not easy for a graduate, but they are more business minded on graduation than ever before. Galliano (Yikes! I said his name) argues that talent will always be recognized, despite the difficulties?

You mean sooner or later? But, should a young creator first get a job in a big house (as a major designer once told me) or it would be better to try the solo route for starters?
Yes. He uses himself as the ultimate argument that you can fail and fail again. And finally, finally, if you keep trying, incredible talent will be recognized. Not sure how this theory goes down with those who have ended up bankrupt and broken by fashion… The route to success depends on the opportunities that come the young designer’s way. You take somebody like Christopher Kane who did things the textbook way – managed cleverly by his sister Tammy. He’s proved you can do it. He’s a great message for London fashion. Then there’s somebody like Peter Copping, who, I think is on the brink of the global recognition he deserves. He served at Louis Vuitton with Marc but kept under the radar, yet produced some wonderful designs. Now he’s doing wonderful things at Nina Ricci. Both routes can work. Both routes have their own advantages and disadvantages. One thing: being a success in the fashion design world is damn hard. “You pay in sweat!” (See start of ’80s TV horror, Fame for more inspirational advice)

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I wanted to ask you, if I may, about your opinion on John Galliano, since his name came up…?
The man is clearly not well. He needs, and I hope he’s getting, help. His comments were HORRIFIC and INEXCUSABLE.
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