THE ARTISTRY OF VINTAGE DESIGN INSPIRATION
The title of this blog post was originally the name of a talk we did for Kingpins24 Inspiration day last year. The tongue was firmly set in cheek and it was, of course, meant as a joke, far too grandiose a heading for what we do. The aim of it, however, was to paint a picture of our process when developing concepts such as the ones you would usually see during the Kingpins Shows. In this blog post, we will focus only on the film as an inspirational starting point, and if you want to know more about the concept we built from it, you can watch the talk in its entirety here.
When we start building out a new concept story, it usually begins with a single ingredient; a piece from our archive, a mood, a colour or a point of reference in time. Or like in this case, where it all sprung out of a simple black and white photograph; a North Nevada desert scene, a dramatic sky hanging over the mountains and a woman wearing double denim and a simple white shirt. The image is of course a behind the scenes shot from The Misfits (1961), a beautifully filmed anti-western classic directed by John Huston. The actress needs no introduction. Marilyn Monroe is here captured in all her insecurity, learning her lines off-camera on what would tragically be her last completed film. She is seen wearing an undoubtedly all-time classic; a 1950s blanket lined Lee, model 101J. In our minds, the storm rider is the definitive cowboy’s jacket, instantly recognisable by its corduroy collar.
The behind the scenes story of The Misfits is as hypnotic as the scripted film itself, the photographs capturing it as poignant as they are heartbreaking. The director’s friendship with Magnum founder Robert Capa saw seven Magnum photographers documenting the making of the film. Much has been written about the production, but it’s these Magnum photographs we find ourselves returning to. They have always been a rich source of inspiration as they capture what is, to us at least, the golden age of denim. Every piece here is a classic!
When we have been working on design concepts over the last 13 years, whether for film or fashion, we have often had our inspirational starting points coming from cinema. This has always felt like a natural process, as it was for the love of American westerns that started our passion for denim and vintage clothing. This time it began with the photo of Marilyn, and it was all about the jacket.
Photographs by Eve Arnold and Inge Morath, Magnum Photos.