IRMA: What does Vintage mean to you today?
J.J. MARTIN: Vintage isn’t something that changes meaning for me. It’s an actual historical fact. Clothes that are 20 years old or more are considered vintage. Anything earlier, is not. So, the items from Prada last season or Givenchy from 2 years ago being sold on websites are not vintage. That is considered the re-sale market. At La DoubleJ, I started the website by selling vintage clothing and jewellery and we continue to do this today, even though we began 1.5 years ago also making new clothes and housewares featuring vintage patterns. I love high end vintage, historical pieces made by famous designers, as well as no-name pieces that I find for low prices at a flea market. I’m not a snob about where or what, but I’m a big snob about the quality. It has to be great.
IRMA: Your latest collaboration with Italian furniture company Kartell shows a perfect match of vintage and modern design, how will this design collaboration influence your design sense for other objects to design in the La DoubleJ signature look?
J.J. MARTIN: The Kartell project was an interesting challenge because it’s difficult to merge pattern with plastic. So we had to be clever. The first thing we did was use a lot of upholstered products that had plastic elements, like Patricia Urquiola’s clap chair. But then we also played with printing on plastic for our new placemats. I looked inside their archives to pluck some of their most significant pieces of their history- like Joe Colombo’s chair (which we covered in printed pillows) and Anna Castelli’s Componibile which got an overlay of print on the plastic base. This project has allowed me to think of how we can play with print but also not get too overwhelmed by it either.
IRMA: You developed a modern collection out of a vintage style and now you are exploring further into furniture, glass and home accessory design. How do you take it from one step to the other?
J.J. MARTIN: I feel like all of La DoubleJ’s products speak to one another— from the clothes and the jewellery to the plates, Murano glasses and furniture. Yes, they all have some component of print or colour, but more than that they all have a sense of joy and playfulness. This is really the DNA of the brand. Having fun and not taking fashion or design too seriously.
IRMA: In which direction do you think are living design concepts and traveling going in the future?
J.J. MARTIN: I think people want to spend more and more time, attention and money on their own homes since this is becoming the last refuge from an ever-chaotic world and from too much technology and phone time. People need to nest and feel good in their homes to recharge. I also think the wellness category is growing a lot and is very interesting- people now travel for wellness, to visit a spa or a health clinic or an energy or yoga workshop. It’s cool.
IRMA: Is there an Icon, a location or a person which inspires you when designing a new collection?
J.J. MARTIN: I always begin with the prints. I do research on prints in the Mantero silk archive that excite me, it will usually be one image and then I start looking for more prints around that one main theme. For spring summer clothing, it was a print I found in a vintage market of a woman’s face with a scarf from the 1970s. For our porcelain it was a 19th c. dragonfly I found in Mantero, then we design around that.
IRMA: What makes your day?
J.J. MARTIN: If I start out meditating and talking to my crystal rocks, followed by yoga under the wisteria on my terrace with blue glass tiles all around me. It really, really makes my day.
ALL portraits by © Christian Michele Michelsanti