Peter Saville is a designer of unique influence on visual culture. Over 30 years he has challenged our understanding of graphic art. As a founder of Factory Records, the legendary independent label, he created a series of iconic album covers for the groups Joy Division and New Order. The graphics he devised have been ripped off on every level. Saville doesn’t mind that, though.
He also worked extensively in fashion and arts, creating identities and imagery for clients including Yohji Yamamoto, Jil Sander, Christian Dior and the Centre Pompidou. Saville has exhibited internationally, with a major retrospective at London’s Design Museum in 2003 and subsequently in Tokyo and Manchester.
In 2009 he was nominated for the Prince Philip Designers Prize. He now plays a leading strategic role in the economic and cultural renaissance of his home city of Manchester, as a consultant creative director to Manchester City Council.
Fashion finds it difficult to get over Peter Saville. That’s because Saville isn’t just fashionable. His work is a style unto itself. He’s the original.
Working with Nick Knight and Marc Ascoli on the ground-breaking catalogues for Yohji Yamamoto which, like his album covers, became design fetish objects.
Yohji Yamamoto’s ground-breaking catalogues:
Art Director Marc Ascoli, Photographer Nick Knight and Graphic Designer Peter Saville.
In a period of the 1980s dominated by glamorous, Amazon-like models, materialism and logo-mania, Yohji Yamamoto, Marc Ascoli , Peter Saville and Nick Knight advocated a new vision: intellectual, sensitive, showing almost no skin. The creative process was relatively free-flowing.
“The first step is preparation — it’s important to give yourself the time to think, to study all possibilities. Nick was always available and I feel like that’s what contributed to the success of our work…. It’s all the same today,” “But I believe what we did was unique. It was the encounter of two authors, Yohji and Nick…. And with Yohji, it’s not the end of the world if you fail, so I started without pressure and with a little bit of nonchalance, and I think it helped a lot. What was amazing at this moment was the energy of the simplicity. There was no protocols, no politics.” Marc Ascoli.
Even before Peter Saville began working with fashion, he was fascinated with it. “From back when I was at college, I was always more interested in the other disciplines that were going on at art school than the one I was doing,” he says. “Graphic design was a way of communicating something about the things I did find more interesting. I always found architecture, fashion, product design and furniture more interesting.”
Interview Marc Ascoli, Nick Knight & Peter Saville on Yohji Yamamoto
‘Game Over’ – Yohji Yamamoto A/W 1991-92
For the first campaign, Saville juxtaposed stock photographic images with caustic slogans like Game Over. Yamamoto’s distributors were horrified: not only were their own advertising predicting the end of their industry, it didn’t even feature the clothes. Saville softened the following season by including the clothes: but styled just as they would be in real life: by a model shooting hoops and an artist dripping paint on to a canvass.
Peter Saville’s “MEANINGLESS EXCITEMENT” for Y-3
Peter Saville recently teamed up with Y-3, the sportswear hybrid between Adidas and the celebrated Yohji Yamamoto, for their s/s 2014 collection. Saville worked with Yamamoto for a series of spectacular prints and distorted slogans as well as for the collection’s campaign, which was titled “Meaningless excitement”. Coinciding with a Suzy Menkes article in The New York Times, titled “Sign of the times: the new speed of fashion”, Saville was inspired by contemporary internet culture, the constant look for the next big thing and the height and depths of the fashion world. He brought together seemingly unconnected references, images and words from online forums, social media and personal blogging platforms, and created an acid house paradise, standing on the thin line between the poetic and the political.
With slogans like “This message has no content, are you sure you want to send it?”, “Change that works for you” or “Everything is not $1.00”, the collection was characterized by a strong and bold attitude that reflected Saville’s quest for “portraying the brokenness of things, the kind of saturated backdrop”. “We find inspiration in our constantly changing world”, said Yohji Yamamoto about the collection, “It never remains the same, and we never lose our endless desire to capture the new.” A playful critic on fashion’s obsession with the short lived and, at the same time, a celebration of its transformative qualities, “Meaningless excitement” was everything but pointless. Japanese tradition met all-American sportswear, the minimal cuts of Yamamoto were side by side with Saville’s English wit and the new generation of internet-obsessed kids finally found their dream wardrobe. Saville and Yamamoto did it again!
S/S 14′ footwear by Y-3 & Peter Saville for Adidas
Yohji Yamamoto is one of fashion’s continual innovators and this stunning book is a fascinating insight into his working approach and relationships with other creative practitioners. This comprehensive and groundbreaking volume includes an insightful interview with Yamamoto, as well as a roundtable discussion with some of his key collaborators, among them Nick Knight, Peter Saville, and Marc Ascoli. Photographer Max Vadukal, who has been working with Yamamoto for more than 25 years, is interviewed by Terry Jones, and long-time collaborator Masao Nihei contributes an essay on some of the wider influences on Yamamoto’s designs and how they are presented.
Beautifully illustrated using amazing photographs from the likes of Nick Knight and Paolo Roversi, selected from the Yohji Yamamoto archive, this will be an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in fashion and design
Publisher: Victoria & Albert Museum. ISBN-10: 18517762. ISBN-13: 978-1851776276
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Official website Peter Saville: http://www.petersaville.info/