What is so cool about him is you know that he’s not styled, whereas everything now has become so synthetic. Robert Johnston, Associate Editor, GQ.



Wearing clothes just the right side of dishevelled cool is, I’ve decided, pretty much an artform. I should know because I’ve been trying to get it right for years – ever since I discovered David Hockney while doing my A-levels. How did he get that trench coat to look so perfectly lived in? What made him think that the trench needed a polka dot bow tie to finish off the look?

My Hockney love might have begun with the art – you don’t forget the first time you see those super-sexy colours in his pool pictures, especially if you live in a small, grey market town in Norfolk. But it was the impact of Hockney himself, with that rebellious rash of scruffy, bleached, yellow hair, those hefty circular glasses and his unabashed clashing of colour in his outfits, that made him the coolest man I’d ever seen. A brilliantly intentional nerd, he’s has been my all-time style hero ever since.

I love his candy-coloured cable jumpers, the American-style logo sweatshirts or the way he puts a cardigan with a knitted tie. I love how he wears them all with a slouchy air of bohemian fabulousness and boring old slacks. They are clothes with personality. Simon Chilvers, “Why David Hockney is my all-time style hero,” The Guardian.


It goes without saying that I’m a big fan of Hockney’s art and find each period of his work very inspiring. My stimulus to do this fashion story was a series of portraits of him, some done by other artists/photographers and some by himself.

What I find particularly striking is the reflection of his personal style on his work and vice versa. David Hockney dresses in a very peculiar yet meticulous way, he pays attention to every little detail, nothing is left to random and there’s a very “dandy” aspect in his style and his works: the very unique way he mixes stripes and printed fabrics, as well as the fantastic combination of the different primary colours.

He is the epitome of what we French say “mise-en-abime”, both in his art and in his style. In his work there is a constant lust for joy, sometimes understated and subtle and sometimes, its extreme opposite: loud and flamboyant. It was actually this – his endless quest of happiness – that made me conceive this fashion story. Romain Sellier, photographer.

This post was so much fun to put together–not the least because one can’t help smiling in looking at all the photos of David Hockney.  His look is all his own–the bleached blond hair, Le Corbusier-inspired big round glasses (look for my upcoming post on Architects and Their Glasses), the mix of patterns, exuberant colors, the different colored socks, never just mismatched, but carefully coordinated in their difference.  Everything pops on him! I love the bottom photo by artist Peter Schlesinger of Cecil Beaton (another candidate for a future post) and Hockney–two exuberant contemporary dandies, each dressed in his own distinctive look.


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2 Responses to David Hockney

  1. Laura Lyons says:

    Thank you for this posting. I’ve always loved Hockney since I saw a show at the Walker in MSP in my teens. He also has opera sets. You’ve probably seen “L’enfant et les Sortileges” at Spalding House in HNL. Always imagine a romantic scene taking place under those magical trees or on the bean benches. Looking forward to architects and their glasses! Also, what about Francesco Clemente?

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