Home Floor designer How Kim Jones is reinventing Fendi and dining in this 18th-century Sussex...

How Kim Jones is reinventing Fendi and dining in this 18th-century Sussex parsonage

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At the impressionable age of 14, Kim Jones, artistic director of Fendi’s women’s collections, experienced a double epiphany when he turned to both fashion and the multifaceted wonders of Bloomsbury Group, the loose collective pioneering creatives and intellectuals who shaped British art and thought in the early 20th century. Jones’ passion for the latter began during a high school trip to the Charleston farm in Sussex, the hub of the band known for its unbridled creativity and triangular relationships. As the schoolboy toured the house, layering patterns, paint and charm, and sketching in the gardens, famous for their exuberant plantings and layers of bright color, he was thrilled at the thought of “all these people living together and living pretty free lives,” as he says now. “Anyone who is forward-thinking and changes the way society lives interests me. It’s something I’ve always stood for in my life: I want to live the way I live, and it doesn’t matter what other people think.

LIGHT TOUCH
The creator at home.

Photographed by Simon Upton, vogueApril 2022.

In his Fendi redesign, Jones drew inspiration from Bloomsbury’s playbook, collaborating with artisans in the brand’s legendary ateliers and working across disciplines with music makers, artists and muses. Her passion for fashion was born when her sister bequeathed her collection of identifier magazines – invaluable chronicles of the innovative and often anarchic taste-makers emerging in 1980s London at a time when music, art and fashion collided and creative sparks flew. That kind of synergy fueled Jones’ own work as a designer, and he continues to revere the era – evidenced by his unparalleled collection of the work of disruptive designers such as Leigh Bowery, Rachel Auburn, Christopher Nemeth, Mr. Pearl. , Vivienne Westwood and the late Judy Blame (with whom Jones collaborated on Louis Vuitton menswear, the collaboration being a staple of her practice).

FOR ART
In Jones’ dining room, reproduction of a 1913 folding screen by Vanessa Bell.

Photographed by Simon Upton, vogueApril 2022.

Jones then studied graphic design at Camberwell College of the Arts, but found the subject “too flat”, he recalls. “I wanted to do something that creates a world.” So he went to see legendary demanding Louise Wilson, the tireless head of the MA fashion course at Central Saint Martins, whose dazzling stable of alumni would include Erdem Moralioglu, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Simone Rocha and Jonathan. Saunders, among many others. Wilson reviewed Jones’ portfolio, “took a drag,” he said, “and said, ‘Well, you have good taste, so you can take the course. Louise made me believe in myself,” adds Jones, “which made me quite brave. They remained great friends until his untimely death in 2014. “What I love about fashion is that it’s got everything else in it – photography, film, music – it all comes together,” says -he.

Jones graduated in 2001 with a collection he remembers as “kind of punky, with a lot of recycled jeans.” John Galliano bought half of it, and Jones went on to create his own fashion label before joining Alfred Dunhill – who he described at the time as “a kind of sleeping beauty” – as creative director in 2008, where his work won his second British Fashion Council Menswear Designer of the Year Award. Global luxury groups were watching and circling, and in 2011 Jones took on the same position at Louis Vuitton for men, a brand with wanderlust in its DNA.

Beautiful double doors overlook the street.

Photographed by Simon Upton, vogueApril 2022.