For fashion that flirts with the iconoclastic, bridging contemporary and modern aesthetics through both tailoring and images, Neil Barrett is the designer to embrace. It was this very vision, realized through a “hybridized” T-shirt featuring Pablo Picasso wrapped in a print reminiscent of the Arab keffiyeh, that became the impetus for the Neil Barrett collaboration with Interview Magazine. “Miguel Enamorado, fashion director at Interview, saw [that] T-shirt. We then joked about using the most legendary covers of the magazine to create improbable pairings,” Neil reveals about the start of the project. “A few weeks later, I found myself going through Interview’s archives and the collection was already in the making.” Together they created pieces that explore some key faces—and subtle controversies—of contemporary pop culture.
The capsule collection features five different celebrity juxtapositions cut from Interview Magazine’s archive of over 400 magazine covers: Leonardo Dicaprio and Mark Wahlberg; Liz Taylor and Eddie Redmayne; Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber; Elton John and A$AP Rocky; and Jay-Z and Robert De Niro. “I wanted the collection to celebrate the magazine’s 40-year history,” Neil elaborates on the creative direction. “Delving into Interview’s archives was like time-travelling across four decades of pop culture—with a number of iconic covers which are engraved in everyone’s memory. I wanted the heritage of the magazine to resonate, yet I wanted to give it my own spin.”
The pairings are witty and upon deeper inspection seem to show commonalities, despite the differences of the icons themselves. The alleged past animosity, and now camaraderie, of Jay-Z and Robert De Niro, both cornerstones of New York in their respective fields; Eddie Redmayne’s acclaimed recent performances exploring transgender history alongside Liz Taylor’s place as one of the most beautiful women of the 20th Century. The process, Neil clarifies, “was similar to the way I approach prints: the concept of cutting/pasting iconic images of people, cartoons, or sculptures has been constantly present in my work over the last 12 years.”
These pairs expand upon the brand’s natural creative explorations and identity through more mainstream sensibilities—even through a reach that is now more cross-generational. Brad Pitt, for example, a heartthrob for the past 20 years juxtaposes Justin Beiber, his modern day equivalent. “What I like the most about this collaboration is that, while it blends different languages, the product itself is ultimately relatable,” Neil explains. “Anyone who is a fan of Neil Barrett, or Interview, or Justin Bieber will find a connection to it—in that respect, it’s quintessentially pop.”
“The identity of the magazine as we know it now is so directional and distinctive that one somehow forgets how long it’s been around,” Neil gushes about his longtime admiration and respect for Interview Magazine, an icon in its own right. “It was so tricky to pick just 10 out of 400 covers. As I was given access to the all the past covers, it was like seeing your classmates from high school again—all the memories resonated vividly. I mean… Tom Cruise’s Interview with the Vampire issue? Unforgettable.”