My Style: Fred Butler

The set and accessory designer was compelled to dress in the entire rainbow palette and is a fan of Peter Jensen, Alistair Carr and AsFour.

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Photography by Mishkin Mishkin
Dazed Digital: What are you wearing today?
Fred Butler: Red Wool button up sailor trousers that belong to my best friend. It’s cold so I have red leg warmers hidden underneath. They have the word “Dance” knitted into them which makes me laugh! Red Jumper with sequin embellishment and fetching see through lace panel, nipped in at the waist with a red belly-dancing cummerbund and red kimono accessorised with a red plastic heart shaped piano pencil sharpener.

DD: How would you describe your style?
FB: The fundamental thing is that I dress in monochrome. From the coat and bag to the socks and underwear.   I wake up and feel a colour, there is no order, rhyme or reason. Occasionally I don’t have inspiration and I have to sit in my dressing gown and wait which is very inconvenient if I have to be somewhere!
The other major factor is that I wear clothes to put me in a good mood and enjoy a day. I wear strong colours to brighten up the gloom of modern city life. It provokes a mixed reaction of either smiles in appreciation or jeers from the stereotypical small-minded souls. 
Oh and lastly I don’t ever tend to feel over dressed. I would always rather opt for over rather than under.  Why wait for special occasions?! Every day should be celebrated!

DD: What is the most coveted item in your wardrobe?
FB: There has been one stand out item. I once earnt £80 dancing (not how it sounds!) and spent it on a Peter Jensen white frilly jersey hoody.  It’s remarkable. Whenever I wear it, the broadest mix of public respond to it positively and have to tell me. I have taken it to New York and Paris so it’s not even just London!  I had to email Peter just to let him know!

DD: What’s the most expensive thing you own?
FB: That’s actually classified information. But its footwear that was a gift, which made me spend a night wearing them around the house accidentally-on-purpose walking past the mirror again and again. I was loathed to take them off when I went to bed.  I have never worn them out and don’t think I ever will.  It is like they have been beamed down from another planet into my shoe rack.

DD: Is it important for a designer to “Practice what they preach” – wearing their own clothes?
FB: I definitely think it makes life more worthwhile. That’s what leaves icons and legacies in our rich history. Why deny the future generations that joy? Why take yourself too seriously? If you have conviction in your work surely it should carry through in everything you do. Why separate your passions? I salute the Mary Quants, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwoods of this world. Where would we be if they wore black Gucci suits? It’s not even about being outlandish.  Jean Muir looked perfect in her navy crepe and beige lipstick. Having said all that I will let Christopher Kane off for not wearing his minidresses! But then he has Tammy (Christopher's sister) doesn’t he?

DD: What other designers do you like?
FB: My wardrobe consists of mainly AsFOUR and Alistair Carr. I am a very lucky because they just happen to be my favourite designers and 2 of the most generous friends I have. Over time I have amassed quite an archive! I like to look a little futuristic and the amalgamation of the two is the ultimate combination.

DD: What was the last thing you bought?
FB: I rarely buy things. I tend to acquire because Im such an easy person to buy a present for.  Get me a pair of rainbow socks and I’m made up like a Cheshire cat! If I do buy something it is an incredibly boring process not worth mentioning.  I know I need a very specific item to complete a look so I just have to wait until it finds me. 

DD: What outfit did you have the most fun wearing?
FB: With out doubt it was costumes I used to make for theme parties at Brighton University. I really wasted time on my course concentrating on that. I tried to go to as many parties as possible, and there were a lot going on!  So that involved many “looks”. But the pleasure was definitely two way. I discovered two of my long-term collaborators this way. Kim Howells and Helen MacIntyre came to a “V” party as vegetables. A carrot and tomato respectively. No one else had bothered with costumes and these 1st years waltzed in accompanied by a cauliflower and bunch of peas.
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