by Sebastiano Bazzichetto
TORONTO – Rory Hutton is an accessories designer and illustrator based in Scotland. But defining him with merely one label would not do Mr. Hutton and his work justice. Wrapped in a silk dressing gown, he ultimately nurtures his soul and projects with the highest idea of beauty, sporting a thick black framed pair of spectacles that makes him resemble Yves Saint Laurent.
It would have been my great pleasure to fly to the UK and have this conversation in person, but eventually technology lent its prodigious hand and made this correspondence possible.
Dear Rory, how would you describe yourself in three words?
Ambitious, creative, gentle.
You refer to the aesthetic movement from the end of the 19th century and make reference to the quête for pure beauty. How can one make beauty relevant in our contemporary world?
I have always been interested in the philosophy of the aesthetic movement and by extension the pre-Raphaelites and the arts and crafts movement. It is a lifestyle movement encompassing art, design, literature… a world where artists are designers and designers are artists.
Beauty is a very individual concept. For me it is found in all the small details which make up one’s life: the cup I drink from, the objects I surround myself with, the music I listen to. I am a ‘detail person.’
What does design represent to you?
There is a quote from William Morris which I try to live by and perhaps sums it up more eloquently: «Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.»
Scotland or London?
I spent seven years in London and Scotland is certainly a lot more relaxed. I am usually in London at least once a month so I never feel I am missing out but equally it’s always nice to return to Scotland. Free from the wonderful distractions of London, I can get a lot more done.
Could you talk a little bit about your collaborations?
In the last six months I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with The British Museum, The Wallace Collection, The Royal Opera House, The Art Fund and I’m currently working on a really beautiful project with the Royal Ballet Company. These collaborations have allowed me to design all sorts of products including silk scarves, ties, bow ties, socks, greeting cards, notebooks, china, pocket mirrors and limited edition prints inspired by exhibitions, performances and collections. I love history and I have an M.A. in Design History so these partnerships are a dream for me. I enjoy learning and the different projects give me a great opportunity to research. The above projects have included Rodin, Louis XIV, The Marriage of Figaro, The Ring Cycle, King Ashurbanipal and Canaletto. All these diverse themes keep me constantly stimulated. I’m really excited about all the themes I will cover in 2019.
Opera and fashion, what’s a better duo? Could you tell us more about this collection?
The Royal Opera House has been a huge inspiration; opera has a very rich visual history which was slightly intimidating at first, I must admit! Many of my design heroes have worked with the opera house over the years so it was very exciting to be joining them.
What does opera mean to you?
Opera is pure opulence and a feast for all the senses.
What’s your favourite opera or composer and why? Arias that you don’t grow tired of listening to?
I enjoy anything by Mozart, the Eighteenth century is a really exciting time for design, its drama suits opera. My current favourite composer is Händel. The aria I most love is the Flowers Duet from Delibes’ Lakmé: I remember hearing it when I was very young and every time I listen to it now I feel immediately relaxed.
A few fire-rapid questions. Your favourite colour? Navy Blue.
A book that you are reading? “The Grand Tour” edited by Roger Hudson for the Folio Society.
What’s never missing in your suitcase? Generally, when I travel it is for business therefore I invariable have 20 silk scarf samples and a portfolio. If it was a pleasure trip, I would probably still have a trunk full of silk!
Favourite song from the Thirties?
J’ai Deux Amours by Josephine Baker always makes me smile.
A dish that you like to cook? I don’t much care for cooking but I love setting a magnificent table…
Hosting a dinner party at home or going out to a fancy restaurant?
At home, so I can lay a nice table with Georgian china but I’d have to hire a cook!
What’s a piece from your collections particularly dear to you?
I love all my collections for different reasons. I regularly wear a long black silk scarf from my Ring Cycle collection for the Royal Opera House and if I was wearing a tie it would be a Louis XIV one from my Wallace Collection range.