You may remember we used to have a feature where we would invite people as varied as Polly Vernon to our very own readers on to the site to answer some questions about fashion, well we thought we would bring it back. Who better to relaunch our feature than Dr Christian Jessen who is a bit of a style icon we think, and we may be a bit jealous of his shirt collection.
We would like to thank him for taking the time to face our questioning and for the very thoughtful answers.
So here is the grilling we gave him . . . .
Vintage or New Clothes?
Both! There are a number of great 2nd hand and vintage shops that i rummage through on occasion and have found some real gems. Mixing up looks and styles for me is the key to artful and interesting dressing. Oh, and of course colour!
Best place to shop?
I really like both Covent Garden and Jermyn Street for shopping and would be hard pushed to have to choose between them. Covent Garden for the sheer variety and quirkiness, Jermyn Street for (of course!) the shirt shops, but also its wonderfully old fashioned gentleman’s outfitters selling some of the most gorgeous old style tailoring, handmade shoes and the best silk tailored dressing gowns on the planet -every man should own one!
Fave piece of clothing/footwear you own?
I think it may be just about every single one of my Vivienne Westwood suits. I just love her style and tailoring. They fit me like a glove off the peg and gaze wistfully back at more eccentric days of men’s fashion, whilst still being so wearable and contemporary.
Is fashion a part of our cultural heritage?
I think so. On Jermyn Street stands an almost life size bronze statue of Beau Brummell, who was an iconic figure in Regency England, during the time of George IV. He was really the arbiter of men’s fashion, and established the mode of dress for men of understated, but perfectly fitted and tailored garments. I don’t think we have ever looked back.
Worst Fashion Mistake
I’m not sure I can tell you… but perhaps we shouldn’t look on outfits that haven’t worked as mistakes, but on experiments that haven’t succeeded?
Turning up on a hospital ward in Vivienne Westwood bondage trousers probably wasn’t the greatest of ideas however…
You have a very recognisable look, and in your recent documentary you tried a different style as part of the program, how did that feel and do you consider your clothes as part of your identity?
As you could see and I hope I expressed clearly enough in the documentary it felt horrible! Your clothes are very much part of you, your character, and can give you the confidence to do what you do. My ‘Dr Christian’ costume of my fabulous Hawes and Curtis brightly striped shirts help me to be me, silly as that sounds. To have such a personal part of you stripped away and to be made to wear something you don’t like is very humiliating. We do it to our kids by putting them in school uniforms and the first thing they do when they leave is usually to throw their uniforms away. Says it all really doesn’t it?!
Embarrassing Bodies: Live From The Clinic is on Channel 4 every Tuesday evening at 8pm until the 3rd of June.
Photography credit: Photography (c) 2006 Channel 4