Graphic designer Peter Saville still rocks the fashion world

Saville's Factory work seismically shifted popular culture and the graphics he devised have been ripped off on every level

Fashion finds it difficult to get over Peter Saville. References abound to his work, past and present. His aesthetic stamp chimes constantly with fashion's offerings. That's because Saville isn't just fashionable. His work is a style unto itself. He's the original. In Factory cataloguing lingo, Saville would be FAC-0.

Maybe that's because Saville's aesthetic imprint is vast. His Factory work seismically shifted popular culture, the graphics he devised have been ripped off on every level – especially in fashion.

Saville doesn't mind that, though. He's been involved in fashion for years, working with Nick Knight on ground-breaking catalogues for Yohji Yamamoto which, like his album covers, became design fetish objects. The Yamamoto catalogues were supposed, ostensibly, to show clothing to sell clothing. It did the latter often by eschewing the former.

Even before Saville began working with fashion, he was fascinated with it. "From back when I was at college, I was always more interested in the other disciplines that were going on at art school than the one I was doing," he says. "Graphic design was a way of communicating something about the things I did find more interesting. I always found architecture, fashion, product design and furniture more interesting."

That fluidity of medium has become a way of working for many – fashion designers direct films, architects create clothes. Saville pioneered it. "Over the past 25 years, we've moved closer and closer to a common ground between these disciplines," he comments. "There is very much a converged aesthetic now, and a converged audience." Does Saville realise the fundamental role he played, by creating product design that became a product in itself? You can't really chart the influence and dispersion of Saville's ideas, because they're everywhere. Ubiquitous. Saville changed the lot.

Designers Peter Saville and Yohji Yamamoto Designers Peter Saville and Yohji Yamamoto  

Arguably, the designer who chimes the loudest with Saville's work is the Belgian, Raf Simons. In 2003, Simons delved into the archive of Factory Records, selecting works from Saville's back-catalogue to integrate into his winter collection. That show was called 'Closer' – after a Joy Division track, but also underlining that Simons was closer than ever before to Saville's universe. The collection was dedicated to Saville. Simons's work has been obsessed with youth culture, with the graphic details and decals of logo-ed band T-shirts, and with underground music scenes. In short, with Saville.

Ten years later, in summer 2013, Saville sat front-row at Raf Simons's spring 2014 show. It was an ode to youth, and music, and rave. The rave culture Saville's work so marked with its bright, two-dimensional colour and reappropriated imagery. Simons's models bounced out on hefty rubber-soled rave trainers, like chopped-up chunks of the Haçienda's interior. Saville seemed keen.

"Clothing is perhaps our most instant personal expression of individuality and sense of place. It can be an indicator of zeitgeist. I object to the commodification of spirit in the business of fashion." That's more Saville-ism. He evidently doesn't mean Simons. The spirit of Saville, and Simons, raves on.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss