LONDON — Smythson has tapped the British illustrator and filmmaker Quentin Jones for a second collaboration in six months — and this time she’s turned her hand to the leather accessories themselves.
This story first appeared in the March 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Smythson Panama Collection With Quentin Jones features original illustrations — such as a winking cat, a dancing cat, an eye, ink blots and a heart shape. They pop up as patterns on totes, cross-body bags, passport covers, notebooks and diaries from Smythson’s Panama collection.
“I thought about my favorite examples of artists who work with pure lines,” said Jones of how she approached the project. “I looked at the ink work of Picasso, Miro, early [David] Hockney or Ben Nicholson, and then I thought about how I could apply these ideas to something you wear or carry — and this led me to the idea of creating patterns out of tiny pictures. It was a great project and really made me push my aesthetic in a new way.”
Jones added that the motifs emerged from “hundreds” of doodles and scribbles. “I prefer how my imagery looks when I don’t overthink it, and just work really quickly. Then when you choose the few things you like, they sort of get elevated or seem intentional in their style.”
The collection, done in combinations of white, black, dark red and Smythson’s signature Nile blue leather, also includes badges, key rings and diaries with the words Soho Saint and Soho Sinner embossed in what looks like dripping liquid gold on the front. Smythson will also offer gold embossing services at its New Bond Street store here that are based on the prints.
Last September, Jones created a series of collages based on famous fans of the Panama diary, such as Sigmund Freud, Dita Von Teese, Erdem Moralioglu and Katharine Hepburn. Each collage featured a letter of the alphabet that together spelled out “Smythson.”
Rory O’Hanlon, Smythson’s design director, said he and his team handed Jones existing Smythson designs “and had her take the collaboration a step further, putting more of her signature style onto it. She chose the color combinations and the prints, and we worked closely together to narrow her proposals down to what was technically doable.”
The limited-edition collection of 10 styles will bow at Colette in Paris on Monday, and remain exclusive to the French store for one week. Colette will also showcase Jones’ original Panama collages as part of its in-store display.
The collection will go on sale at Smythson on New Bond Street on March 17, and will be carried online at smythson.com on March 31. Prices range from $125 for the leather winking cat pin to $1,600 for the large classic tote, with Jones’ prints screen-printed on the inside.