What is about to happen to all of these neatly rolled textiles?
‘Behind you are 19th century piano shawls that will go into the spring/summer production. In the other corner are the French crochets, here you have 18th and 19th century Chinese fabrics and theatre backdrops, and some ecclesiastical pieces and so on. Every week they are moved out and new things will come.’
Will all of the textiles here be re-worked, over-dyed and embroidered before you use them?
‘The materials I tend to buy are all distressed, so they all have to be worked on. That’s my feel-good factor, because I’ve rescued something. There isn’t a single time that I have bought something that has been in immaculate condition – it’d be in a museum then.’
What was the first thing you made?
‘This all started by fluke. In 2011 I made a very Neolithic-style jacket out of 19th century hemp linen that had gone very soft with age. It was lined with recycled fur. Two friends of mine bugged me to show it in Paris and I honestly don’t know how the buyers made their way to me as their apartment had no buzzer and a grumpy concierge. I came back with 800 orders for that jacket. I was gobsmacked.’