Designers and label owners Amy Molyneaux and Percy Parker tell Laura Jackson why their label is about music and parties as well as clothing.
Where did you get the inspiration for your spring 09 collection?
Percy Parker: We draw inspiration from all over. We’re very into music, so it’s often bands that inspire us, or it might just be cool girls on the streets.
Amy Molyneaux: Our spring 09 collection is called Le Style Anglais and has influences from the 1950s and 1970s and nautical looks and tailoring, through to shapes such as curves and circles. One of our most inspirational times is actually at the end of the shows. Suddenly you get this massive wave of relief that it’s over, which kick-starts the creative process for the next season.
Where did the initial idea behind PPQ come from?
AM: PPQ is a lifestyle brand; we’re not just about the clothes, we’re about music and art too. We started from a musical background – Percy used to organise club nights and we set up a recording studio in Shoreditch in east London in 1992, which grew into PPQ headquarters. We launched the clothing out in Japan – we love Tokyo and we had a great business there, we had lots of fun and made decent money, but decided we wanted to concentrate more on offering our clothing at home. We started showing off-schedule at London Fashion Week in 2000, and this is our fourth year of showing on-schedule.
Tell us about your collaboration with etailer Oli.
AM: Oli approached us and we launched our second collection with it last month. We wanted to create a different collection from our more directional, top-end pieces. Oli offered us a way of creating an entry point into PPQ for girls who can’t afford the mainline, or those who want to buy on-trend pieces but don’t have the likes of Topshop on their doorstep. Oli is geared towards a younger audience, so we hope that if its customers buy into the collaboration line early on, when they are older and earning regular money, they’ll buy into mainline PPQ.
PP: Oli has been brilliant to work with, the company understands the ins and outs of production and deals with all of that for us.
You’re big mates with the Geldof sisters – how did that come about?
AM: Peaches used to come to our studio to record tracks, and we got on with her. She’s collaborating with us on a Christmas line that is going into Selfridges. It’s very exciting, it’s a kind of glam goth line. One of Selfridges’ front windows will show the clothes, so we’re going to set up a whole gothic winter scene.
Do you want to stay at London Fashion Week, or can you see PPQ trying somewhere else?
AM: I don’t think it would suit us to run off to New York and show there. London Fashion Week is starting to get really good and we love showing here. It’s our home.
PP: And we always like to throw a great party afterwards.
How do you see the brand developing?
AM: We’d like to launch a full menswear range, hopefully in the next couple of seasons. We’d also love to launch standalone stores across the country. Unfortunately, our first standalone in Mayfair was closed down as the corner it was on is being developed, so we’re going to open another near the old shop in about six to nine months.
PP: It’ll be more of a lifestyle store than just clothing.
Who is your fashion icon and why?
We love all the big fashion houses and can’t really single any one out, but we love going to Sonia Rykiel’s shop when we visit Paris.
Beginning as a window dresser for a textiles store in Paris, Sonia Rykiel founded her own label in the city in 1968. She was soon named fashion’s queen of knits after making the pullover her signature item.
A brand following an ‘un-fashion’ philosophy was created, with Rykiel responsible for the invention of inside-out stitching in 1974. Rykiel received an award in 1986 from US trade organisation Fashion Group International for her creative contribution to the advancement of fashion.
Rykiel, now working with her daughter Natalie, continues to produce collections after 40 years as a designer. Her latest collection features striped knits, tailored suits and coats and off-the-shoulder jumper dresses, in hot pink, red and black shades. Earlier in 2008 Rykiel celebrated the reopening of her flagship store on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris.