20 Odd Questions for Jean Touitou of A.P.C.
Coinciding with the new A.P.C. store opening in New York, renowned publication Wall Street Journal have thrown 20 questions at founder/designer Jean Touitou. The discussion includes various topics from music and cooking to vacations and being a hotelier making this a worthwhile read.
Classic French style to me means Gabrielle Chanel before the war and, though they aren’t technically French, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent before 1977.
One person out of three who works for me is a musician, and we have a recording studio in my Paris office. I’m working on a Richard Wagner re-mix project because I think there are some parts of Wagner that are very ambient. Right now the studio is being occupied by this hip-hop artist JoeyStarr. He plays in front of 30,000 people in France, but people don’t know him in America.
I really love the band Metronomy. They’re from the U.K., and the first time I saw them I had the same shock as the day I saw the Sex Pistols. I like to see bands you’ve never heard of in small clubs where drinks are three Euros and there’s just a guy playing acoustic guitar.
If I were to open up my own hotel, I would get rid of televisions in the rooms and propose in-house music with a few playlists. I would always leave some fruit on the table.
I don’t work on Fridays, That’s when I go see my “swing coach,” which is a pretentious way of referring to my golf instructor. I have a driving range at home. Golf is a problem with my family, a huge problem. I call it my “green mistress.”
I would love to cook less, it’s just that French restaurants are so terrible. I’m not trying to be arrogant or provocative. I cook whatever is in season, whatever is in the market. Last week, I cooked chicken, and stuffed it with raisins, which I left in Jamaican rum for a while, and veal. I like to go fast when I cook. I don’t mess around with reading recipes.
To really get away, I go on my very fast, very secure Finnish motorboat. I listen to the weather report the night before, and wherever seems interesting to go is where I head. Usually I go around Italy—Sicily or Sardinia. I’ll head out at about four in the morning and put on some music—Richard Wagner remixes and Bob Marley remixes. I fish only to eat. I’ll clean it, then I poach it or put it in the pan. For me, this is traveling.
A good gift is an Hermès shiny black notebook. I recently gave one to a businessman, a friend of mine, and he’ll probably give it to his son. They last forever.
If I find a good salesperson, I feel obliged to buy something. I like when a salesperson is not just being polite—when he knows what he’s talking about, exactly what you’re referring to and the history of the company and certain products.
I hate the fact that art has gotten totally corrupted by the Russian mob. Art inflation is something terrible. There are lots of ignorant people with a ton of money and they can’t stand having white walls, so they call art buyers and say “white wall, don’t like, need art.” There’s too much posing with art. When I find something that moves me, I make a copy. I have a Cy Twombly at home that’s a reproduction. I shot it from the catalogue very properly and then I made the enlargement—it’s not hurting anybody. I don’t need to have the satisfaction of owning an original Cy Twombly, but I have the piece in front of me.
At dinner, I like to drink two cocktails and a glass of water. I drink Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and dry martinis. I smoke when I feel like smoking. I never buy cigarettes; I just pinch other people’s. It’s too good not to do it, and I’m lucky not to be addicted.