Jazz Shapers Live: Nicole Farhi

Posted on 26 March 2018

Elliot Moss interviews sculptor and fashion designer Nicole Farhi, accompanied by music from jazz musician Judi Jackson.

Visit our Jazz Shapers page to learn more about other shapers.

Elliot Moss
Hello and a very warm welcome to a special edition of Jazz Shapers.  We are in front of a live audience here at London’s offices of Mishcon de Reya.  My Business Shaper today is none other than the artist, the sculptor, the fashion designer, the fashion icon that is Nicole Farhi.

We will also have live music for this special edition of Jazz Shapers, the one and only, all the way from America, it’s Judie Jackson.

I want to talk about fashion obviously to start with.

Nicole Farhi
Okay.

Elliot Moss
Tell me about…

Nicole Farhi
I like talking about my family because…

Elliot Moss
You can see who is in charge here it’s very straight…  you can talk about whatever you like.

Nicole Farhi
But my family, my family, my aunts and my… the women in my family, the Turkish women were very, very chic and they loved clothes and they were always fighting who had the best couture and who had the best outfit so I was brought up by those women, I mean they were next to me always looking wonderful and perhaps that helped me wanting to be a fashion designer. I went to Paris when I was eighteen and I went to Art School and Fashion School at the same time. I found it very easy at the time to sell sketches and get into the fashion world and I met somebody called Stephen Marks who started French Connection with me.

I didn’t know what I was doing really you know. I was doing what I felt was right and I didn’t have a pre-conceived idea about fashion, I just… I like drawing and I thought it was exciting to… and to draw different things.

Elliot Moss
You’ve been a business woman, you are now an artist.

Nicole Farhi
I am not a business woman, I have never been.

Elliot Moss
Or a woman in business rather and a creative person.

Nicole Farhi
I just want to make it straight because Stephen Marks was the businessman, I was a creative behind the business.

Elliot Moss
What was it like being allowed that space for him to just…

Nicole Farhi
I think an incredible chance to have met him, to work with him and to get that freedom, that very few designers get when they work in a company to be able to do what I wanted to do and he was incredibly generous.  Obviously I wanted what I was doing to sell but I was not doing it for it to sell, I was doing it because I loved doing it.

Elliot Moss
Judie what strikes me about creative people is that they all crave freedom and that when they perform, whether they are designing clothes or whether they are creating pieces from pieces of clay, sculptures of whether they are writing songs or whether they are delivering it, they are doing something they need to do. They are almost compelled and what I have read about you is a similar thing that your art, your singing is a way, it’s quite cathartic for you?  Is that a fair point?

Judie Jackson
Certainly very fair. I believe that freedom is key to being creative, to fluidity, to honesty within your art and your work and if you are not honest with yourself then your work cannot be as honest so part of freedom is responsibility and I think it is very important.

Audience
It would be really interesting to know if you were going into fashion again now, how would you feel it has possibly changed in the last you know, sort of thirty years?

Nicole Farhi
Fashion now?

Audience
Yeah.

Nicole Farhi
To tell you the truth I am absolutely not interested in fashion. Since I left it, I left it behind totally. I never open a magazine unless like in Vogue, I am in it. It’s true.

Judie Jackson
Thank you very much.  Thank you.

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