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Test Mag Screening: Peter Jensen

This week, the Danish designer hosts a screening of ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’ at the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green

Following in Richard Nicoll and Roksanda Ilincic’s footsteps, this Thursday Danish designer Peter Jensen is set to host a Test Present’s film night at Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green. Jensen will present his favourite cheeky British comedy, ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’ followed by a post-screening Q&A. The film, released in 1987, tracks the friendship of two girls in Yorkshire as they embark on a relationship with a married man. Taking a break from his busy schedule as creative director of his eponymous label and Central Saint Martins tutoring, Jensen theorises on the mystique of the ‘celebrity’ with Dazed Digital.

I thought, for pure selfish reasons, that it’d be great to choose a film and see it on a big screen without anybody interfering or anybody telling you which one it should be

Dazed Digital: Why did you get involved with Test Presents?
Peter Jensen:
I thought, for pure selfish reasons, that it’d be great to choose a film and see it on a big screen without anybody interfering or anybody telling you which one it should be. I was debating between three films in my head. One was Lars Von Trier’s ‘The Kingdom’ but it's eight hours long and in Danish− I thought that might be a bit painful to watch. The other was ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane,’ because I wanted to see a gay classic large. I love the Bette Davis-Joan Crawford story and the rivalry they had going on while filming.

DD: Is it true that ‘Rita, Sue and Bob too’ inspired you to move to London?
Peter Jensen: That’s true − doesn’t that sound corny! I remember seeing it when it came out and laughing so much. I just thought the humour and the unity of the family and their bond was brilliant.

DD: Your collections reference strong female characters, what is it about them that inspires you?
Peter Jensen:
All of them have a sense of humour, even if it’s the characters they play, like Sissy Spacek, have some faults. They aren’t perfect but they are strong. From my point of view – I’m a man, so I can never be a women, even if  I go drag  – strong women are either really powerful or they are over the limit, there is something delicate about that balance and that’s what I really admire. I hate girly women − that makes me sound really weird. But, I don’t like women who speak in girly voices to make themselves sound attainable, they have to be strong.

DD: What do you think of celebrity culture?
Peter Jensen: There are some celebrities I admire but there are some that I think, ‘you don’t deserve the status you are being given’. It is bizarre how some people have become style icons, and I think, ‘God, what is it you do? What is your job?’  It’s sad if you’re really talented and you’re up against these people. One would think that in this climate that to have celebrity status you’d have to do a good job, I’m not saying charity but actually achieve something with your head. I’m jealous of people who can write.

DD: As a designer you’ve shyed away from the limelight, is that on purpose?
Peter Jensen: I’m too lazy, and just really crap at networking. I’m crap at going to all these events that you are meant to be going to. I probably shouldn’t be. I see it as a job – that sounds high and mighty, I don’t mean it like that.

More info on the screening, click HERE

Text by Lucy Morris