Rewriting the rules: the interview with the designer of Libertine

March 28th, 2016 / by / in: Dazzling stories / No responses

Collaborations with Damien Hirst, Goyard, Converse and Target and inspiration between art, fashion, history, design, travel and culture: Johnson Hartig, the founding force behind Libertine rerowte the laws of fashion. Or this brand, in particulat, at least, launched in 2001. Championed by the likes of Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld, today Libertine is internationally recognized as a brand with a surefire cult following extending from East Coast socialites to West Coast creatives and back again to a cross-section of celebrities ranging from Mick Jagger to Taylor Swift. (CLICK on the gallery above, for more pictures)

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For his Fall/Winter 2016 collection, he used embroidery and crystal embellishments — from kitschy cigarette butts to surrealist patterns— on everything from women’s coats and dresses to men’s sweatshirts. Key women’s looks also included embroidered, fur-trimmed coats, crochet-knit capes and sequin dresses.

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Los Angeles, California born and raised, Johnson Hartig, the designer of Libertine believes that is no need to differentiate the style of women and men: “I believe everyone looks good in everything, and it’s exciting to see someone breaking the rules”, he said. And he talked about the collaboration with Damien Hirst, music and taste in… clothing.

Why did you launch your label Libertine?
Originally Cindy (my former partner) and I made clothes that we wanted to wear for ourselves, having both worn vintage clothing throughout our teenage years. We began by printing on vintage garments and one thing led to another and here we are 15 years later.

Who was your first client?
Our first client was Karl Lagerfeld.

The 5 old school classics pieces inspire you more?
70s punk, 80s preppy, 60s mods, George Cinq, and Georgian ruffles.

The new school know-how you can’t work without?

What kind of pieces guys should never wear?
Skirts. I really don’t like men in skirts.

What kind of pieces girls should never wear?
Women should always wear whatever they want, whenever they want. There are no rules for women. Women are the most divine creatures.

Would you like to talk about your collaboration with Damien Hirst?
Sure, it was really exciting to collaborate with an artist we had admired for as long as we did with Damien. We painted spin paintings on the back of jackets and donated the proceeds to charity. We love dogs and animal rescues.

How would you describe your taste in clothing?
Kind of street-sporty, glittery, maximalist. The more patterns, colors, textures, sparkle, cleverness, cheekiness, joie di vivre, passion I can put into an outfit the more happy I am!

Do you wear any other labels’ clothes?
Adidas, Nike, KTZ, Nasir Mazhar, Katie Eary, and lots of vintage designer clothing (like old Hermès). I love Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermès fragrance – I’ve worn it for 25 years. I would bathe in it, swim in it, drink it, and sleep in it if I could.

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The playlist of Johnson Hartig includes…

  • OMD – Architecture and Morality
  • Christian Death – Theater of Pain
  • Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the UK
  • Sade – Diamond Life
  • Sergei Prokofiev – Love of 3 Oranges
  • Sea and Cake – Runner
  • Sir Bevel Marriner – Mozart Horn Concertos
  • Adolescents – Adolescents
  • Cher – Believe
  • Astrud Gilberto Album

Photography: (c) Libertine




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