THE BOY WHO WANTS THE WORLD
He was already an It List Visionary winner when his name was called out at the Tate Modern last September to collect the Fashionista gong, too! Jonathan de Francesco, visionary and fashionista extraordinaire, tells us how his life has changed since his double win
How do you think you have evolved as a stylist and visionary between your Visionary 2013 and 2014 wins?
So much has happened since last year’s It List wins. I’ve been working on loads of new projects and collaborating with a range of talented individuals, and I think from these new influences and perspectives my work has matured. All of my work is based on feeling rather than a particular direction; now I feel comfortable to trust my instincts and let things happen naturally. Thinking about it now, winning both awards sounds bizarre. So many long hours of demanding studio work, meetings, prepping and fashion weeks. It’s extremely satisfying and humbling for it to be acknowledged. Any artist simply wants recognition for their work above all else.
Tell us about your award-winning 2014 Visionary collection.
There were so many hours of prep for this collection, my friends thought I had disappeared! The previous summer I had travelled to Japan with a close friend, Mikio Aizawa. He took me to a master geisha wig maker’s studio in the heart of Tokyo. After seeing the dedication and relentless drive to bring these masterpieces to life, it reassured me that all those hours in the studio crafting my wigs really were worth it.
How has life changed?
So much has changed. After nearly nine years based in a salon, I decided to go freelance full-time. I’m now represented by a creative agency in London and I’m based at Easton Regal on the days that I’m not shooting or travelling. I’d always wanted the freedom of being freelance so I feel content.
What have been your highlights in the past 18 months?
It’s been a bit of a blur, but the highlights include travelling to Japan for the Dior Pre-Fall 15 show with Guido; working on my own Tom Ford Eyewear online campaign; working in London, Milan and Paris for Fashion Weeks assisting on shows such as Dior, Chanel, Prada, Versace and Maison Martin Margiela Couture. And in between all this I have been doing a lot of travelling to places such as Japan, Brazil and Mexico.
You’re our It List Fashionista – who do you long to work with?
The list is endless. The designer I would love to collaborate with the most is Raf Simons – that would be a dream! There are many outstanding photographers and stylists like Joe McKenna, Paolo Roversi and Alastair Mackie. Hopefully over time I will get the chance to work with these icons.
You’re our It List Visionary as well – who do you consider the most exciting visual artists in the industry today?
I always love looking at the work of other stylists, whether they are friends or idols. Names such as Guido, Shay Ashual, Nicolas Jurnjack, Eugene Souleiman. For inspiration I look to photographers, designers, painters and so on as it’s a completely different view. Some of my favourites are Larry Clark, Mike Brodie, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Francis Bacon, Yohji Yamamoto and Willy Vanderperre.
What’s next for you?
I have a lot of work to do! Fashion Weeks in all over and plenty of shoots. I’d taken some time out of this season for a holiday in Brazil for the carnival but I did go to Milan and Paris for Fashion Week. I’m hoping to continue this and learn as much as possible. Session work has given me the freedom to learn and develop into the stylist I am today.
What makes a true visionary?
A true visionary is someone who creates something new from a different perspective. Someone who strips it back to basics and simplifies.