By Josh Arnold
What do Larry Clark and Jonathan Anderson have in common? Unique talent that pushes the limits of creativity and inspires others the world over. And when two original talents join forces, the result is sure to be sensational. Meet two creatives brought together over dissident youth culture.
Larry Clark and Jonathan Anderson may not seem likely bedfellows. While one is a writer and director of hard-hitting films from Oklahoma, the other is a rising-star fashion designer from a small town in Northern Ireland. Yet both are masters of their crafts, pushing the limits of creativity and inspiring others right across the world. And breaking all sorts of conventions, they both explore pertinent themes in their crafts. Leitmotifs of adolescence and social boundaries permeate Clark's films, while Anderson uses his collections to examine the notion of gender. And so it's this one influence that unites their unique talents: dissident youth culture.
A new collaborative book and film puts this shared interest on full, no-holds-barred display. The Smell of Us, produced with Document Journal, stars the actors from Clark's latest film dressed in the J.W. Anderson Spring/Summer 2015 collection, filmed by the photographer himself. Vogue Hommes met two unique talents.
Vogue Hommes: How did this collaboration come about?
Jonathan Anderson: I was approached by Document Journal who helped us get into a room together. I've loved his work since I saw Kids when I was a child and I think he has a very important role to play in image making and art film. He's a huge influence on me and someone I've always loved so it was basically a dream come true.
VH: How did Larry Clark inspire you?
JA: I loved his reality and how he's not afraid to show life as it really is. We live in a time and place which is quite censored, even though we don't think it, so I like that he is so open and free to talk about topics which aren't necessarily the easiest to talk about.
VH: Which character traits do you share?
JA: We're both uncompromising.
VH: What part did you play in the project? Were you on-set styling?
JA: I didn't style, I was there to work with Larry in the way that he works which is quite spontaneous. And it wasn't about styling; it was just about making a film. I think young people in France are quite often overlooked in terms of a cultural movement, so I wanted them to make their own decisions about what they wore. It was quite amazing to hear them say that some things they loved and some things they hated!
VH: Is there a piece of Larry Clark's work that has always stayed in your mind?
JA: There's a book called 1992 which has a series of images of one kid with a gun. I loved this idea of hyper-repetition of catching every moment and the commitment to show them all.
VH: Larry Clark is considered by some to be quite a provocative artist. What is your taboo?
JA: I'm quite modest and sometimes a bit of a prude, but I don't have anything that is really taboo. I'm all for one thing and it has to be 100%.
VH: What does provocation mean to you?
JA: Things that you've never seen.