Photographer William Klein Has No Use For 99% Of Fashion Designers
William Klein takes fantastic photos, and gives great interviews. Case in point: in his latest interview with WWD, the 84-year-old photographer divulges in his love for the City of Lights and street photography, and slams nearly the entire fashion industry along the way.
Klein is showing some of his early paintings and photos in “William Klein: Paintings, Etc.” at a New York gallery, and chatted with the trade Wednesday afternoon. The questions ran the gamut from how he got his start in street photography, his favorite career moments, and our favorite — what still interests him after being in the biz for so long. His response to that question is epic:
“There are designers who knock me out. Jean Paul Gaultier is full of ideas and is very funny. I’m not that much interested in genius inventions of fashion designers. I asked somebody in the fashion world, ‘What is Alexander Wang about?” He said, “Well, he used to do T-shirts and parkas.’ Now for me, that’s enough. T-shirts and parkas — what else do you want? It’s like people taking photographs — there are so many designers jerking off in the fashion world, I could do without 99 percent of them. Bernard Rudofsky did a book a long time ago called ‘Are Clothes Modern?’ For him, basic traditional clothes like the sari, the toga and Greek sandals were enough. Who needs all these so-called inventions? He did a show at the MoMA. He was really censored by the fashion world, by the people who said, ‘Oh this is good, this is bad.’ There were people who were like icons — Christian Dior and [Yves] Saint Laurent. Saint Laurent did the safari and the tuxedo and was vastly applauded for that. But the safari existed and so he adapted the safari to women of his day. And the tuxedo you would see in a Marlene Dietrich film. A lot of the clothes that influenced were done in the movies.”
It’s like sitting down with our Grandpa, if he knew everything about fashion. Bless you, William Klein.