Designer, illustrator and artist Julie Verhoeven’s varied body of work has included everything from design work with Louis Vuitton and Versace to moving image, creative direction and fashion consultancy. Having begun her career as first design assistant to John Galliano, Verhoeven’s multi-disciplinary approach is now moving more towards the art world, though she’s still a sought after commodity in fashion.
Recently she collaborated with longtime friend Peter Jensen on his SS14 collection. Jensen, whose collections each season centre around a different muse, worked with Verhoeven on channeling Diana Ross, creating large-scale images of Ross, with her hair and lips appearing on party and day wear.
This evening at the V&A both will be interviewed by Penny Martin, Editor of The Gentlewoman, on their unique collaboration. Ahead of the event we grabbed a few minutes with the Julie, getting a taste of what they’ll be chatting about…
AS A FASHION DESIGNER, ILLUSTRATOR AND ARTIST, HOW DO YOU START YOUR CREATIVE RESEARCH AND WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR ART?
I start on my library-crawl of UAL libraries hoping to surprise myself.
I overwhelm myself with visual and audio stimuli to the point of excess and wait for a dominant thread to dictate and lead, depending on my emotional state at that moment in time.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR BODY OF WORK IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Grubby around (the) edges.
WHEN COLLABORATING WITH FASHION HOUSES LIKE LOUIS VUITTON, MULBERRY AND VERSACE, DO YOU FIND IT CHALLENGING TO FIT YOUR AESTHETIC TO THEIR BRAND IDENTITY?
I enjoy that challenge but fundamentally and frustratingly, I always feel I fail because it just all looks the same.
YOU HAVE COLLABORATED WITH FASHION DESIGNER PETER JENSEN IN SEVERAL PROJECTS BEFORE, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK THIS TIME AROUND FOR HIS SS14 DIANA COLLECTION?
It felt very buoyant, direct and painless. No issues, no egos, no sweat – very un-Diana-like!
DO YOU FIND ANY CURRENT POP ICONS INSPIRING?
Beyonce. I find anything to do with pop music inspiring, including the current batch of cloned, ‘middle of the road’ pop stars.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW BREED OF FASHION ILLUSTRATORS THAT USES TECHNOLOGY AS THEIR MEDIUM? WHAT DO YOU THINK TECHNOLOGY’S IMPACT ON ART?
With regards technology and fashion illustration, I don’t really look to be honest because I’m driven by a sense of tactility which is obviously lacking in this medium. Technology is evidently an amazing positive, productive, overwhelming influence. You’ve just got to sift through the excess to unearth a gem or two.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU AND IS THERE ANYTHING WE SHOULD BE LOOKING FORWARD TO?
Keeping my head down, eyes on the studio floor and output…
I’m putting on ‘Whiskers Between my Legs ‘ – a solo show at the ICA in the autumn and will also be staging a collaborative show with Jimmy Merris in Bergen, Norway in the summer.
‘Peter Jensen and Julie Verhoeven: Diana Ross, Muses, Fashion’ is on tonight at the V&A from 6.30-7.30pm. Buy tickets here.
Find out more about Julie Verhoeven on her website.