Interview with Robin Dutt, a very good friend of Trevor Pickett for more than 30 years.
Robin Dutt is an author, journalist, media consultant, lecturer, bon vivant. Robin Dutt is ‘one and all’ and definitely one of a kind. Specialising in the arts, interior design and sartorial matters, Robin is the frequent focus of feature articles and interviews for some of Mayfair and London’s most prestigious magazines and books. He is both a leading dandy and an expert on historic and contemporary dandyism.
Robin Dutt is an old friend of Trevor Pickett. They have known each other for more than 30 years maintaining a respectful friendship. Both deal with design and style in their business, but in a different way. Trevor Pickett is a designer and a producer who creates his own collection but Robin Dutt is the one who has a critical view on design and is confident to comment from his own perspective. So, two friends with contrasting positions, how has their friendship survived the test of time? At the press day on August 3rd for Pickett, where Trevor presents his new collection, I’ve taken the chance to ask Robin Dutt a few questions about their friendship and how they combine their different jobs.
How do you know Trevor?
- I’ve known Trevor for more than 30 years. I know you can’t believe that looking at me but I have. We were always drawn to the same sort of synthetic and functionality as well. What Trevor has always done is represent tradition but with elegance and beauty as well.
How have you regarded the brand over all those years?
- The good thing about a brand that really matters is that it should stay true to its value. So 30 years ago, I may have been in the same shop as I am now because there is an understanding of the level of craftsmanship, the quality of leather and of what people respect about the word timeless. Timelessness is a wonderful thing when you come to fashion or style or whatever, if you give people what they wish in terms of their lifestyle then why change – Trevor has that.
How do you support Trevor in his business?
- By being his friend, of course. Apart from that, I love to write about people, – naturally about Trevor – people who are still following the tradition – back to tradition again – back to people who really appreciate why things take time to make things and Trevor’s designs convey this.
How do you combine your different jobs? Trevor is the producer and you are the one with a critical view about designs.
- I have always wanted to combine as many roles as I can, so whether that is as an author, a broadcaster, a stylist, a journalist or a teacher. I think that Trevor understands all of those things as well. Because he can do all of those things. When you look at Trevor’s work, what he has done for the last 30 years and what he was before even having a shop, having an idea, was a man who could understand the way things should be in terms of craftmanship. He is very critical about his work – everything that you are surrounded by downstairs and that the customers are surrounded by upstairs has come through a process of critical analysis – about the quality of the leather, the style, everything. And for me, for someone who looks at a piece of work and then critics it, I look at the timelessness, the usefulness of it and why it should stay in your possession forever. Because it’s well-made, that’s my whole thing. Trevor does things that are well made and then that means that I trust him.
How much influence do you have on Trevor’s decisions about certain designs?
- I would never expect that although we are great friends. What we do is meet from time to time, like today, which is a lovely meeting and a catch up. I’m just looking at what he is doing. But what I’m fascinated about is the person behind the creation, that he is his own creation as well, that’s my interest. So, I have no influence at all.
What fascinates you the most about Trevor’s store?
- Shopping today is boring. Shopping is dull. Yet when you come to Trevor’s store, you come into those little rooms. To me fashion tends to be very dull. Style is everything, Trevor has style. The layout of most shops is planned solely with selling in mind. With Pickett it’s about a discovery in tiny little rooms. That might be the little rooms in your grandmother’s house, forgotten places and remembered things. That’s a beautiful combination when you actually walk through. When you come down those stairs at the store and then a room opens up, and then another one, it’s a shopping experience. One is brightly coloured, one is dark, but that increases the delight of the shopper. Today bangs huge lights and labels. Of course, everything here is labelled but with such discretion. Even in a time like now where everything has to be the big sell in every city, I am sure in all of Europe, you will find little shops doing big things and big shops who come to little shops to find their inspiration. Commerciality has destroyed creativity in many ways and has also destroyed the consumer. But then these things here at Pickett are not hugely expensive, although not that cheap either. These are investment pieces so you buy that bag and that should be your bag. You should choose it because you like it, it serves your needs and your loves. I think we aren’t dealing with fashion, we are dealing with something completely different like style, elegance – all of the things that fashion has nothing to do with.
Isabella von Creytz