Meeting with the fashion designer Jean-Paul Knott in his studio, in Brussels

When two shy people meet :

– Happy about the party’s for the Jean-Paul Knott (post 1 et post 2)?

– It’s so tiredness. After thinking, I wonder whether it wasn’t a bit vain… wanting to satisfy everybody. (Tired smile).    

Public week-end of May in an empty studio except for one assistant. Jean-Paul and I are in the showroom, no rumour :       

– What about music?   

– I don’t have any particular links with music. I like music, that’s it. I don’t like silence. Fashion is an applied art. I invite artists to bring soul to my outfits, always with the idea of meeting and cheering something with someone. I don’t like making things alone. My coming-up collection is a “not a fashionable” collection. I like the idea of many things, in different prices. I try to work more and more the item. Today, the perfection for me : cut, finish, comfort, lightness. A kind of different systematic reality. 

– Cerebral designer? 

– (Laughs) I feel I am the simplest person of the world. For 20 years I’ve worked in fashion, I’m real human and normal.

– For 10 years, I’ve built my alphabet. Today, comfort is the only thing that can be modern. Design for me is like the fashion’s epitome. The real beauty is natural and can’t be restrictive. The speech about morphology is outdated.

– Do you think making just one kind of outfits?

– Yes, it’s one of my big reflection now. I like thinking of outfits in a mathematics way: starting with the basis of sewing. Basics, squares, it’s a thinking of the fabric. Round : industrial line. In my outfits, there’s always a hole to  stick the head out of the fabric. (Laughs). My clients are a source of reflection. I love spending time in shops. I look at people in planes, trains, airoports : they are active, they think…

– Globe-trotter?

– I grew up in many different places. I’ve never been a part of a clan, or only one clan. I don’t like fascists, square minded people. For everything, it’s difficult to be independent.

– I’ve always liked Asia. Europe represents the Human Rights world, individuality and I’m vrey respectful of this view. Asia:  I do exist because I’m a part of a group.

For 7 years, Jean-Paul goes to China two or three times a year :

– With nice real people, in the true reality of China. They make me cheer something very particular.  They asked for consulting and they do things and they are determined.

He is a big star in Japan, where he goes every 45 days. He desribes his business relation with his Japanses dealer as :

– A bunch of people with the same sensibility in a same location. In Japan, before the European concept stores, Land of Tomorrow (of Tomorrow Land company distributes Jean-Paul Knott) has developped the concept of regional choices. Sometimes local is in the other part of the world. A gallery of life: a collection of easy useful simple outfits with reasonnable prices that evolves every months. And with the no-colour tones of life. A silhouette more androgynous than  skinny. I’ve always hated fashion and shows. For my first fashion show, I asked friends for modeling. We took pictures with people always different. It’s true that a fashion picture can be beautiful. I’m often more flattered when my friends wear my clothes.

– The future?

– A highly specialized aesthetics for your region in the world.

For many years, Jean-Paul has created T-shirts for the ONU, United Nations (Picture above).

– I’m lucky today: I can eat. But I don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow. I think we can make a better world.

Map of the world, the favourite locations of this glob-trotter :

Cities: – Brussels, quality of life, but absolutely not for the weather! Today Brussels has the same bubbling than in London and New York. There is an international side, more open, a freedom. With a “petit bourgeois” side too. Tokyo, Japan and Asia, for the quality of life and the respect of people, things, humans, animals. Paris, for the beauty. Rome, for the imperial side. 

Museums : PS1 in New York, I like its human approach, for the school and on the ground, the small video of Alice in Wonderland falling in the vacum. It’s a very poetic and real place. I love photography (Cindy Sherman), video (Pipilo Terrys, Nan Jun Peng). The Musée Magritte cause I don’t like the Magritte’s work, but I enjoy the hanging and for an anecdote about Magritte relationship full of clashes with the Surrealists. Grand Hornu, for the contemporary everyday design : I really like.

Brussels : – My tiny home. I have a very nice terrasse with Rhododendrons. It’s a little luxyry squatt. (Laughs).  

Big thanks to Jean-Paul and Sophie!


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