Geoffrey J Finch on the idea and talent behind his hipster fashion
With his threads now stocked in some of the top retail haunts in the world, including Barneys New York, Opening Ceremony in Japan and Liberty London, Geoffrey J Finch’s sartorial prowess is on the rise. Here, the designer tells us how he hung up his hat in his native Australia for the bright lights of London when he was just 21, and how his popular label Antipodium has since earned a loyal following. On top of that, Finch has just been announced as the Creative Design Consultant at Topshop and you can find pieces from his autumn/winter 2013 collection in Dubai at S*uce. Here, we chat to the man about Topshop and his latest wares.
How does it feel to work with a brand like Topshop? I remember my initial trip to London as a teenager and Topshop was the first place I came to. I walked into the Oxford Circus store and had never seen anything like it! It’s that sense of awe that Topshop has all over the world, and why it is having such success with its international growth.
Why do you think the label has such enduring appeal? No matter what type of fashion you’re making – luxury or affordable – it’s about making something no one else is going to deliver. Being first, best or different. That’s what Topshop does.
What’s your latest Antipodium collection all about? I set out to create a sort of uniform for a life under surveillance. It’s the age of the selfie; with more social media channels than you can shake an iPhone at and, with phone hacking and other internet scandals, there’s not much that’s private now. But I came to the realisation that we kind of like it – fashion’s about exhibitionism, after all.
What’s your favourite piece? I love the Façade coat. We’ve been really influenced by tough masculine outerwear this season, but covering up a sort of buttoned-up [style] underneath. The Façade is based on a man’s coat re-imagined in faux pony, velour and napa. The whole collection is full of different textures – I love a texture play, if you know what I mean – but I really went for it with this line. There’s also mohair, slinky jersey fabric, silk georgette and PVC.
You’ve worked with all manner of creative types – how important is collaboration to you? I’m a very collaborative designer. Antipodium has built up a collective of lovely weirdos from all sorts of backgrounds, it’s what’s given the brand its aesthetic and personality. We work with different artists every season, from Jaime Perlman, the creative director of Vogue to Pernilla Ohrstedt [the woman behind the Coca-Cola Beatbox Pavilion at the 2012 London Olympic Park], and we developed a surgical markings print with Dr Tim Goodacre of BAPRAS, a renowned plastic surgeon. It underlines my obsession with characters. You get lots of different opinions, and hear various different stories, and all that energy just ends up in a garment.
You’ve taken inspiration from everything – even from operating tables. What’s currently on your radar? I’m reading the wonderful diaries of Cecil Beaton at the moment. His use of language is extraordinary and the stories of shooting the Queen during the war, and what seems to be a platonic love affair with Greta Garbo in the late 1940s, is mind-boggling.
What’s your ultimate style tip? I don’t feel quite right unless my underwear and socks are matching. I’ve been known to more or less Pantone colour-match them in the grey light of morning. It gives you a wonderful confidence as you hit a busy London street – and who knows who’s going to see them? We always think that Antipodium make clothes that get you in and out of all sorts of trouble. You need to be prepared! Prices from Dhs760. Antipodium, available at S*uce, Village Mall (04 344 7270) or www.antipodium.com.