Judy Blame Interview
Art and Style Dictator
The number of interns and young stylists who screech on about Judy Blame, you'd think he was paid by the government to enlist recruits to the industry. Bored out of my skull as a kid, I found myself studying the minutiae of his every shoot in i-D Magazine, wondering what the hell a stylist was and who 'she', Judy Blame, was. Fast forward twenty years, and she's a he, the godfather of an effervescent fashion dermis, that thrives under the generation he's spawned, his ideas still resonating.
Invited by Hostem to create holiday windows for their Redchurch Street storefront, he has created a new series of bespoke embellished accoutrements, exclusive to the understated highbrow men's establishment, that includes belt clips, button thread brooches, tasseled epaulettes, shoelace necklaces, and button chain scarves, all unmistakably Blame. Not unsurprisingly then, a Champagne cork wreath in one window bursts into a cascade of buttons, chains, and loose threading.
Mandi Lennard: How did you connect with Hostem?
Judy Blame: I had known Alex [Wysman, buyer for Hostem] from when he worked for Dover street Market, where James [Brown, Owner of Hostem] and family had bought my things.
ML: What was your starting point for the windows?
JB: A dead pear tree.
ML: What materials have you used within these pieces for Hostem?
JB: Linton tweed, chains, threads, and of course buttons.
ML: You put them together yourself by hand - that's painstaking work - how long does it take?
JB: I do have a small team of women who help me. We pass them around, and I always ensure I finish each piece off. Some pieces take longer than others. It's quite organic though; they grow at their own pace.
ML: I once saw you wearing one with a large turd hanging off it.
JB: Not for shops! Strictly private clients.
ML: What else are you working on at the moment?
JB: Editorials for GQ Style and i-D Magazine. I've been sorting out my archives for all the museum requests that have been coming in. Doing my art.
ML: Do you have a regular creative team you like to work with on projects?
JB: I like teamwork, but the team does tend to vary from shoot to shoot.
ML: How have you seen the industry change - the new talents coming through, how do they differ to you and your peers do you think?
JB: They think that media and awards are success. Brown nose greed rules creative ideas. I could rant on...
ML: So many people take inspiration from your work. Who inspired you when you were starting out?
JB: I was luckily mentored by people like Derek Jarman, Antony Price, and Ray Petri, and worked with Mark Lebon, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Mark Mattock, Juergen Teller and others, on pictures, using clothing by Christopher Nemeth, John Galliano , Rifat Ozbek, and Philip Treacy. I felt spoilt and miss the generous spirit of exchange, which is gone. It used to be 'Us', and now it feels 'Me Me Me'.
ML: What are you going to be dancing to, wearing, and eating this Christmas?
JB: My pyjamas, porridge, and dancing to Flamenco.