Rapper Pharrell Williams Interview Emillo Pucci's Cheif Designer Creative Director Peter Dundas For Interview Magazine

PHARRELL WILLIAMS: Pucci is based in Florence?
PETER DUNDAS: Yes. I mean, it’s probably one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It’s very quiet as well—there’s not much nightlife—so it definitely keeps me focused on the work. You just got back from Paris?
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: You know, I’ve debated that for a decade. Like 10 years ago I almost bought a flat there just to have a place there in the art district, but my manager at the time convinced me not to. I regret it though, because my experiences being there would have been very different if I’d been staying in my own place.
PETER DUNDAS: Well, he was probably afraid of losing you there or something, because Paris is one of the most incredible places to live. Once you get bitten by the city, you never leave. I just got a place there two years ago, and that’s like my main base in a way, because I feel like I have to go back every so often. It just grows on you—the look of the city, the way people hang out there. If you’re in Europe, it’s good for that.
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: It’s a lovely place. So, as you know, I’m a fan of yours. I think you’re a very smart designer who is working at a classic brand. How has it been for you so far working at Pucci?
PETER DUNDAS: Well, obviously I think it’s one of the best houses in Italy—and one of the most legendary ones as well. That’s why I came here. I also like the idea of working with a house that has a history that you can collaborate and exchange ideas with in the way you would with another person.
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: What’s inspiring you at the moment?
PETER DUNDAS: I’m not intellectual at all as a designer. Whatever I’m into at the moment is usually what becomes the collection. Like, last year, I was super-into diving, and the whole collection that season became about aquatic life. The year before was my first collection for Pucci, and I was just starting the job and working in his Renaissance Palazzo, where Pucci is headquartered, so that inspired me. I suppose right now what’s inspiring me is this book on Pucci we just did. We just dropped this huge coffee-table book on Pucci. It was pretty much finished when I came to it, so I didn’t contribute too much, but thinking about it made me ask a little bit about what the house means to me. I found this image in the book. It was an old image of Emilio Pucci hanging out by the seaside with all of these women, and that’s exactly how I used to think about this house—more of a lifestyle thing, you know? This beautiful life. So I’m really working on that right now, on trying to get that lifestyle aspect of the house to be as strong as possible. So I guess that’s the inspiration of the moment.
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: You’ve worked for other venerable houses before. How is Pucci different?
PETER DUNDAS: Well, first of all, working for an older house is a great opportunity, but it’s also a big responsibility. The fortunes of a lot of people and families are based on what the results of my collections are, and how successful they are on a commercial level, and how big an impact they have on a trade level as well. So I think I’m a little bit more chill about that today. When I started at Ungaro, I was completely petrified by that idea. I was this Norwegian who people thought looked like a beach bum. I guess I am a beach bum, but they thought I looked a lot more like that than a designer. I was very worried about those kinds of reactions. But what’s super-important when you come into houses like that is to take what they have, but also give it your own twist—and you can’t do that if you’re scared. I kind of like to think about it as having to be respectfully disrespectful. In order to be successful, you have to honor what’s there, but you also have to play with it and push the limits of it.
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: How do you find the balance then between being respectful and pushing the brand forward?
PETER DUNDAS: People always ask me, “Oh, do you ever want to start your own thing?” And I don’t, actually. I think what I enjoy most is the sort of coproduction of things, where you bring something and somebody else brings something and a kind of alchemy happens. For me, coming to a house and bringing my love and respect to it—and, hopefully, earning the love and respect of the house—is the only way to do it. I think of it as my own house in that sense as well. So I like not working from a blank piece of paper. I like that there’s something from the past, some kind of identity that I have to work with. There are these good ghosts around, these good energies that kind of reinforce what you do. It’s like how your parents raise you and give you this base, and you eventually grow up and have to say, "Well, you gave me this, but now I need to go my own way." So, more than finding a balance, it’s about taking the good parts of what you’ve been given and bringing your own thing to it in order to take it all somewhere else—and hopefully, forward. Read more.


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