We took a quick moment backstage with Todd Magill, design director of Jack Spade, before his Fall/Winter 2014 presentation at New York Fashion Week this morning. With design experience at Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, Magill has been heightening the level of sophistication for the Jack Spade brand since he became director last year. See precisely how he does it after the jump and browse his latest collection in our gallery above.
What is your academic and professional background?
I’m from Long Island, New York and I went to FIT. My first job was at Tommy Hilfiger, then I was at Ralph Lauren, then I had my own clothing line for five years called Wyeth. I was a freelance designer [at Jack Spade] for about eight months, then I became full-time [as the design director] about a year ago.
Over the course of that year, is there anything you have tried to change or maintain for the Jack Spade brand?
The first thing I did was I looked at the bags, because they started as a bag company. When you look at the bags that are really great from Jack Spade, they’re super utilitarian, functional, and clean, so I applied that to the apparel. [This] collection is much more cleaned up, utilitarian, and more modern than you’ve seen in the past. We also introduced tailoring this season, so the sportswear is a lot more luxe and elevated than we’ve done before.
What was your main vision for this season? What did you want to portray?
The mantra I gave the design team was “the art of subtraction.” We began by looking at George Nakashima and Wharton Esherick who are both wood workers and furniture makers. They both have beautiful homes and studios in Pennsylvania so we all jumped in the car and went there. One was getting inspired by their philosophy, taking a piece of wood and subtracting it to a very minimal, simple form; and the rest of it was their homes [which] are very rich, very beautiful. We got inspired by the colors and textures, the interiors of their homes.
Who do you have in mind when you’re designing?
We took a lot of time this year to look at who our guy is. We just thought about what it is to be an urban guy, to live in an urban city. We consider ourselves to be a very New York-centric brand, so we just thought about his needs, how he likes to show up to dinner parties and look pulled-together. We took a more sophisticated approach this season than we have in the past, where it might have looked a little younger.
Is there any special style or new staple in this collection?
We did this beautiful suede sweat pant in navy and grey, and we also have some fleece ones. Another thing we did was wax-wear: Our wax bag is our most iconic bag, so we took that and applied it to the apparel. We did a whole trench coat in wax-wear, [which] I’m really excited about.
Like you mentioned, you are trying to bring in more sophistication to Jack Spade. Do you see Jack Spade as a fashion brand or more of a clothing brand?
We consider ourselves luxury American sportswear, so definitely more of a fashion brand. I feel like this collection is a foundation for moving further along.
When do you start Spring/Summer 2015?
We actually started it. It’s already in sampling, believe it or not.
Photography: Jacob Breinholt/Selectism.com