James Goldstein: Haute Couture is Great Art
Mr. James F. Goldstein, a multi-millioner totally obsessed with haute couture, the man who has never missed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia and Moscow Fashion Week for years. James attracts public's attention as for his unique taste in fashion, as for his principles of life.
That's what James Goldstein told us at the last Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia Spring-Summer 2013 and Moscow Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2013.
FashionSpace.ru: James, can you tell us, please, why are you interested in fashion?
James Goldstein: I've been interested in fashion since I was a young boy, and when I was in school I always tried to keep one step ahead of my classmates in wearing the latest fad, the latest color whatever it was. I was following fashion even when I was 12 years old. And then in my early 20s I went to Europe for the first time. In Paris I was really impressed with the way the Parisians dressed and so I just progressed from that point on. I started going to fashion shows then as time went on, went to more and more fashion shows and I couldn't get enough. Even today I'm probably more involved than at any point in my life. I'm enjoying every minute of it.
FashionSpace.ru: Many people say that fashion is not art.
James Goldstein: I totally disagree with this statement.
FashionSpace.ru: What do you think: fashion is art, business or something else?
James Goldstein: Fashion in its highest form is definitely art. There's no question about it in my mind. I see some shows in Paris that are so magnificent and so creative for someone to say that it's not art, I have to say they're crazy.
I'm interested in contemporary art, and there's good contemporary art and some bad contemporary art. It is the same in fashion, some good and some bad, so you have to really talk about the good fashion and to me it's definitely a high form of art.
FashionSpace.ru: You are the fashion and lifestyle icon for many designers and for many people, who are interested in fashion.
James Goldstein: That's very nice of you to say that. I've heard that term applied to me before. It's very gratifying because I feel like I've been dressing in a unique way all my life but it's been in recent years that I've gotten that kind of appreciation and it is very gratifying.
FashionSpace.ru: What designers are your friends and what designers do you prefer?
James Goldstein: Well, the designers that I've bought clothes from that I have become friendly with include such designers as Roberto Cavalli, John Paul Gauthier, John Galliano, just to mention a few.
I've recently spent a good part of an afternoon with Olivier Rousteing, the designer for Balmain. We discussed some special custom-made jackets that he would design for me. So that's the direction I'm taking now because what is on the rack for men right now is very unsatisfactory for me. I think men's clothes have gotten very ordinary since the recession. Designers are afraid to do something exciting for men. I am forced to look at women's fashion to get my ideas on what I want for myself. And I'm working with several designers on modifying women's jackets to fit me.
FashionSpace.ru: Do your favorite designers make clothes personally for you?
James Goldstein: They are going to design some special pieces for me and I'm very excited about it.
It's a combination of the designers' ideas together with my own ideas and much of it is inspired by a jacket. For example the Balmain design for the latest women’s collection. In my mind there's nothing associated with one particular gender about a motorcycle jacket - it could be worn by women or men. So I'm not concerned about people thinking that there's something wrong with me because I'm wearing women's clothes. There's nothing for one gender or another about certain jackets, and the women have the best of it, because there're no limitations on what designers will do when it comes to clothes for women. But for some reason when it comes to men, they are so afraid that nobody will buy it if it's a little unusual, that everyone is just making black jackets for men right now. They all are very similar. I want to stand out. I don't want to look like everybody else.
FashionSpace.ru: What are you wearing now?
James Goldstein: Today I'm dressed in Versace, a jacket and a T-shirt, boots are from Dior and this hat I did design myself.
FashionSpace.ru: Can we say that you are a fashion-director of your virtual “fashion house”?
James Goldstein: I'm not afraid of being different. I'm not afraid of wearing something that no one else would be willing to wear because I've seen what happens when I wear something very special. Everybody loves it, and the more unique and special piece of clothing that I'm wearing, the more appreciation I gain from my friends. Now I am at a point if I don't wear something that's really special, my friends are disappointed. So I have to do it not only for my own satisfaction, but to please all the people who are following me. And it's not so easy because I try to change my wardrobe every six months and I have to keep coming up with something new, but I enjoy doing it.
FashionSpace.ru: Maybe in future you will become a designer?
James Goldstein: Many people come up to me and tell me that I should be a designer, but I don't feel that possibility. I really do not have enough knowledge in picking fabrics or knowing how to put it together to make clothing. I haven't really been going to fashion school and I don't know enough about the technical side of the profession to be able to produce something myself. I could hire someone theoretically to do that part of it but at this point in my life I don't want to worry about the business side of fashion. I have my own particular tastes in what I want for myself and in order to sell to other people I would have to change my own ideas on what I want for myself and try to figure out what other people want. And I don't want to do that.
FashionSpace.ru: What Fashion Weeks did you attend?
James Goldstein: Well, on this trip which has lasted for eight weeks now, I started out at New York fashion week, then I went to London fashion week, then Milan fashion week, then Paris fashion week and finally the two fashion weeks here, in Moscow. And all the times in the year I go to Haute Couture in Paris, I go to Berlin fashion week, Copenhagen fashion week, Stockholm fashion week. I've been in the other ones occasionally around the world including Madrid, Tokyo, once in a while Los Angeles, my hometown. But I'm so ashamed of how bad their fashion week is that I rarely attend.
FashionSpace.ru: Which Fashion Week is more magnificent one in the world?
James Goldstein: This is the Paris Fashion Week, definitely.
FashionSpace.ru: How do you manage to attend such a great number of Fashion shows?
James Goldstein: Fortunately I'm in a financial position now which enables me to pretty much travel whenever I want to, and wherever I want to go, and that freedom has really brought me a lot of happiness. Earlier in my life I was working for somebody else prior to working on my own but now, I'm in a position to travel at any time.
FashionSpace.ru: Are Russian people different from the others in the fashion world?
James Goldstein: Russian people have a high appreciation and sense of fashion. They are far more fashionable than Americans.
FashionSpace.ru: What can you say to young generation, to persons who are interested in fashion?
James Goldstein: To young people I can say that you should spend a lot of time looking for clothes finding something that you feel comfortable in. Don’t feel that you have to wear what your friends are wearing. Try to set your own style and don't blend in.
FashionSpace.ru: James, thank you very much for your great original answers!
The interview was made by the editorial staff of an Internet magazine FashionSpace.ru in October, 2012.
Photo: Michael Konyzhev /fashionspace.ru
Posted by Michael Konyzhev, Natalia Chernikova /fashionspace.ru
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