Peter Jensen's Vivian Nicholson

The designer looks to The Smiths cover star for AW13 inspiration.

Paulette Goddard, Vivian Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Tippi Hedren, Thelma Speirs; these are the Jensen women, seasons Autumn Winter 12 through to Resort 14.

‘I’m a man and therefore find the whole world of women and women's history interesting, says Peter Jensen of his choices. ‘Because if a woman is evil or kind it is always way more exciting, I mean look at the War Of The Roses.’

For AW13 the Danish designer picked a lottery winner and Smiths cover star – ‘A friend gave me the 12-inch of ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ in 1988 and I fell in love with her right away’ – he tells of his first meeting with Vivian Nicholson.

In 1961 the cake factory worker was aged 22. Borrowing £5 from her mum, she and her husband put it on the Littlewoods pools and won the equivalent of £5 million. Initially announcing she aimed to ‘spend, spend, spend!’ within five years the money had indeed been spent and her husband had passed too.

She would go on to pen a best-selling autobiography, which itself would later become a West End musical. Two Smiths covers in and Jensen was smitten.

‘I was having a hard time working out who should be the muse for this season and then I found the 12" of The Smiths,’ he tells Clash, when asked why now felt right to cast Viv as his leading lady. ‘I looked at my drawings and something clicked. My work looked like Viv, like the 60s, it was a perfect match.’

‘I find people that look like they have some kind of confidence in themselves or dress well, sexy,’ he goes on. ‘I love Jessica Lange, I find her really sexy. I'm trying to think of a man that I find sexy...’

The collection itself is in a similar vein to the Alexa Chung school of sexy, with camel coloured coats, short lengths and cute collars aplenty.

Exaggerated barnets (or hats resembling…) come courtesy of long time collaborators, Bernstock Speirs and costume jewellery is produced with thanks to Erickson Beamon. Our hearts? They melt for the patent yellow loafers that appear throughout.

Embarking on a fantasy, what would he spend the money on if he won the lottery tomorrow? ‘Oh yes, I always have this fantasy that I would win £800,000 million, don't know why it is that amount. Anyway, the first thing I would do is to pay off all my friends mortgages, bank loans etc. Then I would buy a house in Hampstead and a summerhouse in Denmark.

‘Then I would buy the old hospital building on Euston Road, turn it into studios for designers, rent free for them to work and do great things without having to think about where to get the money from.’ Something like Andy Warhol’s factory he muses. Warhol it happens, plays the leading role in his Resort 14 menswear collection.

Currently both working on his pre-fall line as well as finishing his mainline SS14 womenswear collection while listening to Diana Ross and Suzanne Vegal, his top three Smiths songs include, ‘Suffer Little Children’, ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ and of course, ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’.

peterjensen.co.uk

Words: Zoe Whitfield

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