“It was criticised at the time for being too bold and bright, but I enjoyed it!”
Julie Verhoeven knows better than most about how these two worlds work. She is a multi-disciplined designer across art and fashion; from illustration and creative direction to design consultancy, her work is known for its exquisitely avant-garde quality and surreal composition. After graduating from Medway University, UK, in 1987, Verhoeven started out as John Galliano’s first design assistant, then went on to work as design consultant for Martin Sitbon, and was head designer for Gibo. Her collaboration with Louis Vuitton in 2003 was a huge success and her recent commissions include collaborations with Mulberry, Lancome, Topshop, Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio and Sketch, as well as music projects with Primal Scream and Fischerspooner. Verhoeven has contributed to publications such as Dazed & Confused, Self Service, Vogue Italy and The Face, and is currently lecturing at Central Saint Martins College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. She has published highly acclaimed book of her work – Fat Bottomed Girls.
Would you tell us something about your earliest influences, how you came to an appreciation of design and how you got into it?
My mum is an illustrator and my dad is a graphic designer. Thus I was constantly being made aware of visuals, signs, people’s appearance and design from an early age.
How would you describe your style/work to first-time viewers?
Ferociously feminine, funny and then sad.
Graphics are widely used in fashion nowadays. Why?
It’s because they’re easily accepted and accessible.
Topshop Christmas card 2005
Why is watercolour equated with fashion illustration?
I don’t believe it is, although it can be perceived as a feminine medium.
Why is the T-shirt the most popular medium for combining fashion and graphics?
A T-shirt is a universally un-challenging garment that appeals to a wide audience because it is mundane.
Illustration for album cover | Hysteric Beauty for Dazed & Confused Dec 2005 | Cacharel SS02 campaign | I want you to want me for Dazed & Confused June 2006 | Let the Poor Boy Rock ‘n’ Roll for A.P.C. Musicale | A Propos for Self Service SS 2001
Which medium is the most power-ful for bringing fashion and graphics together, besides the T-shirt?
Billboards/advertising are pretty dramatic and seductive.
How did your collaboration with Mulberry come about? What is the most fun thing about it?
I have known Stuart Vevers for many years and suddenly the timing was right for us to collaborate, according to him. My collection for Mulberry is sunny and bright for the winter season.
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