Friday, April 03, 2009

An evening with Peter Saville. A genius and a gift bag.

On Wednesday night, good pal Renee invited us to an especially special event – An Evening with Peter Saville at the Paley Center for Media, the designer responsible for the album cover art of Joy Division and New Order, campaigns for Stella McCartney, Jill Sander, Dior and Yohji Yamamoto, and most recently, the creative direction of the city of Manchester.

I didn’t know much about Peter Saville, nor about Factory Records which Saville helped found, nor any of the legendary bands he’d worked with. I do, however, know the following now thanks to Saville and his genius, articulate, flippant dialogue…

Peter Saville on his work in the music industry…

  • “The first significant money that Factory made was made off of Ian Curtis dying. And no one knew what to do with the money…there was no plan for the money. So we built a hacienda.”
  • In the US, in the 70s and 80s there was a mandate from the album artwork to include the artist name and title of the album in the top 1/3 of the cover. Bollocks.

Peter Saville on cities…

  • ‘I liked Los Angeles when I had a ticket out.’
  • ‘We understand places from what they’re doing…the brand of a city is brokered by what’s going on there [as opposed to through logos, fonts and design].’

Peter Saville on fashion…

  • ‘I flipped through a copy of British Vogue last week and the whole thing was rubbish.’
  • ‘This kind of endorsement to a story [told by Prada, Gucci, etc] is desperate.’ Genius!
  • ‘Handbags—it’s fashion working its way off the body…very soon they won’t even need the handbag.’
  • ‘I had worked with Stella [McCartney]’s dad. So I was never really obliged to take Stella seriously.’
And lastly, Peter Saville on everything else...

  • ‘Pop culture is our culture now. It needs to be better understood’

Thanks to Emmy and Todd Kasten for producing the event, Manchester and Use Hearing Protection for hosting, and art darling Ramses for his contribution to the limited edition print found in the gift bag.

Photo Credit of Peter Saville: Anja Jahn

[LA Times: Peter Saville on the Manchester revolution]

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