What is beauty to you?
CP: It’s a lot of different things. Character. Beauty to me is ‘terminal uniqueness’. I like people that have no shame in their game, they got their drumbeat that they march to and they don’t care what anybody thinks—that’s more to me what the punk movement was about in the 70s, it wasn’t so much about spikes and studding, it’s about being you and not fitting in with what everybody else is doing and then going to lengths to figure out what that you is. I get really inspired by the gutter punks with limited resources. I incorporated their style of stitching for a long time, that weird Frankenstein stitching. Really just anybody that is true to themselves.
You were talking before about working with Maxfield, I think I read somewhere that Maxfield owner Tommy Perse brought you your first sewing machine?
CP: Yeah, I didn’t work for them but I sold my clothes there for ten years. I was a year off the road and quit my band and moved from Georgia back to California – I had to get a regular job – so I got the job working the door at the Les Deux Café when Michele Lamy owned it. She’s partners with Rick Owens who is her husband, they lived right across the street and I had no idea what I was getting myself into there – I worked there six nights a week. I just wanted to be a worker among workers and blend into the pavement for a while, what a great place to be able to do that. Michele is amazing! She is a total freak of nature, she is so beautiful—she’s head-to-toe Rick. I didn’t know how amazing Rick was because I wasn’t so into fashion, I was just more into playing my bass. I didn’t even realise how amazing he was, he was just some cool metalhead guy and we’d talk about Motorhead [laughs].
He came over and told me that French Vogue was doing this one page thing on ‘who’s wearing Rick Owens?’ and he asked if I’d be one of his ‘people’ and I said, yeah are you kidding me! Can I bring Lemmy (Kilmister) to come down and do the picture with me? Rick was like ‘Oh my god!’ He was so excited! Lem came down and we shot over at their place across the street and Rick was like ‘Hey Corey do you think he would wear one of my shirts?’ I just looked at him and said, no! [laughs]. I got a chance to meet Tommy working there and he saw me sewing one night and was like ‘What are you making?’ I was like, I’m just making these old denim jackets for stylish friends of mine, just hand sewing patches on jackets. He said ‘Why don’t you come talk to my buyer?’ I did a few runs for them and he brought me a sewing machine so I could make more. Tommy is a business man, he didn’t do it to be nice [laughs]. He was like ‘Can you make these faster if I get you a machine?’ [laughs].
Then I did a line called Cosa Nostra with Jeffery Sebelia (the US Project Runway season 3 winner) and Michel Berandi who is my assistant.
What’s one of the most important things to you as a designer?
CP: To make sure that I get to the office before noon [laughs].
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