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Limoland’s Jean Pigozzi

The French designer talks about his “dandy” past, designing bikinis and why he’s not the next Alaïa

Jean Pigozzi with Andrew Saffir

“I’m an art collector, I’m a photographer and I was always buying my clothes in Harlem—because there’s a bit of more color, a bit of more fun—and I thought perhaps I could do my own line,” Jean Pigozzi, Limoland founder, told DuJour. “I’m not pretending I’m the next Alaïa, Saint Laurent or Givenchy.”

While Pigozzi does not put himself amongst the ranks of these iconic European designers, he has developed a distinct brand style—which includes bright patterns, playful colors and unexpected shapes—that reflect his personal aesthetic. “When I was young I used to be a dandy,” he explained, “When I was a kid in Paris I used to wear kind of fancy clothes and then I went to college in America which wasn’t very fancy and then I was more traditional—suits and tweed jackets and things like that. I have my suits made in London by the best tailor, but I always wear them with funny clothes funny shirts that I have made in Hong Kong with prints that I found around the world.”

From Limoland and Été’s collaboration

Read on for more from the French designer, including what he thinks every man should own, how he decided to collaborate with Été on a line of women’s bikinis, and why he avoids New York all summer long.

What are the clothes that every man should have?
I feel that if you’re a man you should have at least a few very good suits, a good dinner jacket, some good shoes, good white shirts, good coat and all that, but when it comes to more relaxing then you can wear whatever you want and be fun.

Do you think that men’s style is simpler than women’s?
I mean there are some crazy designers for men, like I think Gautier did some funny things, but that’s not what I’m really interested in. I’m more interested in where the shapes are traditional, and the colors and the prints are fun. A polo shirt is a polo shirt, a bathing suit is a bathing suit.

What are some menswear trends you dislike?
One thing I really hate is jeans that already have holes and all that. I find them very, very bizarre. If some guy with a Ferrari had a little scratch on his Ferrari he would go ballistic, but he comes out with jeans with pre-made holes. I really don’t like that, it’s something you would never see at my label.

How did you decide to launch a collection of women’s bathing suits?
I have to be very honest I know nothing about women’s bikinis. Two years ago I was on the beach in St Barth’s and I saw a very pretty girl was wearing a bikini and I asked where she had it made, where it came from and she said it was Été, and I contacted the two ladies who do Été and we decided to do a collaboration. They designed the bikinis and I gave them all the prints.

Do you spend a lot of time in St. Barth’s?
I’ve been going there on and off for about 20 years. First of all, I like it: I have all my friends there, I love some of the beaches and I even go there with my boat. It’s a good place to take the boat. I usually go there for Christmas and the weather is fantastic. After being in New York in November and December, when it’s freezing, it’s so nice to arrive there.

What else are you doing this summer?
I’m going to leave [New York] now and I will only come back end of October. In the summer I’m in the south of France and then I go to there the Venice Biennale, I go to the Basel art fair and I go to London and Paris. For the summer, early May to the end of October, I’m in Europe.

What do you like most about summer?
I love being outside; I hate the cold. I would like to live without ever having to wear socks, I don’t like the winter clothes. I like to be on boats. I like to be in the sun. I hate short days. I hate the winter, when the days are short. I like to be in a place where the days last until 10:00 at night, everyday. I like long days and early mornings. I find the winter very depressing and I especially hate the winter in Europe where everything is gray and the people get very grumpy

Is there anything you do not like about summertime?
The mosquitos. I have no other problem with the summer.

What do you normally wear in the summer?
I would be wearing a colorful polo short and some shorts. I wear flip flops, or something like that; I’m very causal

What do you most like about women’s summer style?
I like the summer a lot because the women can be very sexy. They can wear little mini skirts and the tops that are very flowing, and I like the spring because the girls have been covering their bodies all winter and some have been going to the gym so at the first ray of sun they immediately put their shorts and miniskirts and they go out and wear their flimsy little shorts and I love that. I hate big coats and big hats like you’re climbing in Aspen in the mountains and you can just see the girl’s nose and maybe lips, but everything else is hidden. You can’t tell even if a girl is in good shape or if she’s a little fat. I really like that no hiding in the summer.