I’ve been coming to Patmos, Greece, for 10 years now. I’ve never experienced such a beautiful place. There are no cars, no billboards, no supermarkets, no health clubs — only the essentials, and that’s probably what keeps bringing me back. There’s this tiny cove — no bigger than a single room — that’s, to me, perfection. I look into the distance and see nothing but rocks and the horizon line between the water and the sky.
The sun begins to set around 7:30 at the end of the summer, and it happens fast. In that time, when the light is changing and I know I have to go home, sunset is both sudden and serene. By then, I’ve been by the sea for six, seven, eight hours, just reading and looking. I come to the beach and turn into a lizard. I love the sensuality of summer. What I feel here is more physical than spiritual. I’m a city guy — I was born and raised in Paris — but here I’m reminded of something that’s older than I am, deeper than I am. Without it, I don’t exist.
When I’m on Patmos, work stops because what I’m doing here is almost the exact opposite of what I do back home. My entire job is to think about how to dress, how to accessorise. Here, I’m wearing no clothes, or at least as few as possible. This tension, the distance between those two things, is interesting. I just need to empty my mind and then return to the pleasure of fashion, the artifice of it, because fashion is a game to me. If I were to describe the experience of being here as essential and deep and peaceful, I’d say that my job is, if not the contrary, pretty close. Maybe it’s because I studied fine arts when I was younger, and fashion was more of an amusement. Part of me still sees it that way.
I’ll sketch when I’m here, but I’m not a maniac about the type of paper I use, or the pen. I buy whatever I find on the island. It’s not as if I’m planning my next collection. It’s more that I’m taking notes. I like to say that inspiration is like archaeology, that it’s built layer upon layer upon layer. I picture an archaeologist taking a soil sample from the ground: some things I’ve loved for years, and they run deep, while others I’ve only just seen on the street. Patmos, the feeling of the island, its mood, its essential Mediterranean qualities, is one of my core layers.