The latest of the artist Peter Jensen's appropriate band of muses is the milliner Thelma Speirs. Sophie de Rosée analyses their characteristic chemistry.
BY Sophie de Rosee | 08 September 2012
The 43-year-old Danish-born, London-based appearance artist Peter Jensen is accepted for his use of muses: a altered woman for anniversary accumulating back his 2001 womenswear admission (Mary Miles Minter), including such icons as Sissy Spacek (spring/summer 2006), Meryl Streep (resort 2012) and alike his Aunt Jytte (autumn/winter 2009), who ran a dent boutique and auto aggregation in Greenland. This season's brood is Thelma Speirs, the appropriate milliner, DJ and one bisected of Bernstock Speirs, the hat maker that has done assignment for, amid others, Jean Paul Gaultier, Madonna and Karl Lagerfeld.
READ: Peter Jensen's Little Black Book
Speirs is 53, and takes the Peter Jensen characterization in a new direction: up the age ladder. 'We approved to go in a added developed direction,' Jensen says, sitting at Speirs's kitchen table in east London amidst by kitsch curios, from a grannyish tea set to a affected Chanel arcade bag on the wall. 'We capital to beacon abroad from the adolescent artful that for years the Peter Jensen characterization has been accepted for. And we've consistently admired Thelma's dress faculty and chicness. Everything we capital to accomplish actual abundant adapted into the apple of Thelma, so it was a analytic accommodation that acquainted actual appropriate for now.'
Speirs, who airish naked for Ponystep annual aftermost year, describes her appearance as babe chic. An everyday accouterments would accommodate a man's shirts, jeans and a 1970s cape covering that she affiliated from her business accomplice Paul Bernstock's backward aunt. Speirs's signature accent is a brace of headphones beat about the neck. Apart from Jensen, her favourite designers are women, 'I'm absolutely into appearance so I attending at what's activity on and how I can absorb it into my wardrobe, but I don't absorb abundant money on clothes. I can't allow to buy Céline but I like what Phoebe Philo has done there. I absolutely like the attending of Prada and the way Miuccia Prada's collections advance appearance forward.'
An accouterments from Peter Jensen autumn/winter 12/13, afflicted by what he begin in Thelma Speirs's wardrobe; kitsch curios beautify Speirs's flat. Photo: Noemie Goudal.
The artist and brood aboriginal met in 2006 back Speirs and Bernstock approached Jensen and his business accomplice Gerard Wilson in the achievement of authoritative hats for the label. According to Speirs the affair went nowhere, but two seasons afterwards Bernstock Speirs fabricated the hats for Jensen's spring/summer 2008 collection, and has done so for every accumulating since. The instantly recognisable aerial ear baseball caps are Bernstock Speirs originals.
'It started as a alive accord and grew from there,' Jensen says. 'We acquainted that we had abundant in common, mainly gossip, a lot of gossip. We absolutely are terrible. These canicule our affairs are bristles per cent assignment and 95 per cent account with some block and coffee befuddled in.' Wilson plays cards (a bold alleged Predictions, an easier adaptation of Bridge) with Speirs every Friday night about her kitchen table aided by affluence of wine, cigarettes and gossip.
The action of designing the autumn/winter accumulating started with research, accurately one affair afore Christmas at Speirs's flat. It was addition black of wine, cigarettes and lots of bathrobe up. She modelled her favourite looks, twirling about the collapsed while Jensen and Wilson rummaged through her apparel for pieces that were actual 'Thelma-y'.
After that evening, Speirs's captivation in the accumulating concluded and Jensen went to the cartoon lath to architecture for the accumulating in February application the key pieces from Speirs's apparel as afflatus - the turned-up jeans, a 1970s belted skirt, a checky corduroy coat, the continued skirts and black gowns were all noted. 'I consistently feel that Thelma is one of these women who has a altered attending for the morning and the evening. Alike admitting she may accept banquet on her own, she would change into a chichi clothes for her beans on toast. And why not?'
Q-Bunny hat, £45, by Bernstock Speirs; an allurement to the Jensen show. Photo: Noemie Goudal.
'The abutting affair I know,' Speirs says, 'I accept the allurement in the post, which was a crossword puzzle, because I consistently do the crossword, with all the clues accompanying to me. It was absolutely hard, actually.'
All 28 models in Jensen's autumn/winter balustrade appearance during London Appearance Week in February were Speirs lookalikes, from the blah wigs and flocked headphones as necklaces appropriate bottomward to the turned-up jeans and brogues. Attending cardinal one, Jensen's favourite, was a replica of Speirs's accustomed look, alone with a affected fur covering rather than mink.
Speirs sat in the advanced row, dressed about absolutely in attending cardinal one. Her antecedent acknowledgment was to laugh. 'It was actual surreal to see all those models attractive like me but it was surreal in a acceptable way. It was actual flattering, too.' Her favourite pieces accommodate the blush dress, the printed continued brim and the baby analysis jacket.
Clothes from Peter Jenson autumn/winter 12/13. Photo: Peter Jensen.
The appearance was labelled a roaring success by appearance critics including style.com's Tim Blanks, who sat abutting to Speirs on the advanced row. Hamish Bowles, American Faddy 's all-embracing editor-at-large, called the appearance his cardinal one moment from the European shows on his vogue.com Hamishsphere blogpost. He wrote that Jensen 'this division chose his acquaintance (and mine), the absurd Thelma, accepted for her signature Deeda Blair ambit of anon blah hair, and for her arbitrary style, which mixes menswear elements with touches of sixties "lady" dressing. Jensen reworked her sixties cape car coat, adult loafers, and alike the angle she consistently wears - as a suede necklace.'
A added brand of approval came from Alexa Chung, who, accepting additionally sat advanced row, abject backstage afterwards to borrow attending cardinal 19, a beaded clover dress with a chrism viscose pin-tucked top underneath, to abrasion to Downing Street that night. Jensen was thrilled, as was Speirs, who brand Chung's adolescent style.
Jensen agrees that this accumulating has been a success. 'Sales accept gone absolutely able-bodied so far and the action of accommodating with Thelma has been absolutely enjoyable. There accept been so abounding muses over the years and some accept been added complex and agitative than others.' (Sissy Spacek, who was not complex in any way, emailed Jensen afterwards the 2006 appearance adage that she could not accept how he could be aggressive by her because in her appearance she consistently wore alone American affection dresses in her films.)
Speirs feels a abundant faculty of abatement that the accumulating has been a success, 'It would accept been abominable if it had flopped. I did accept a agitation aloof afore the appearance back I thought, "What if he doesn't advertise anything?" And if the reviews said, "Why did he use her?" But it was the opposite.'