Max Pearmain


‘It’s a dialogue, isn’t it?’

A father and son discuss style, styling, and the looks of the season.

Interview by Andrew Pearmain
Styling by Max Pearmain
Photographs by Talia Chetrit


Fashion: Vivienne Westwood, Eres, Vetements x Manolo Blahnik, Gucci, Céline, Undercover, Paco Rabanne, Loewe, Junya Watanabe, Giorgio Armani, and Prada.

Twice a year, stylists and editors the world over make their pick of the best looks – pieces from collections shown six months prior that they feel define the mood of the moment. It’s an exercise with a fairly open brief. However, as with content produced for any magazine, whether text-led or visual, it’s an exercise determined by a careful dance between editorial and advertising.

System, keen to explore the dynamics of this relationship, went to stylist and editor, Max Pearmain. Pearmain, himself, is largely driven by the politics of placing product in an editorial context, prompting him to partner with London-based designer Anthony Symonds to launch their own label, Symonds Pearmain. It’s a label that plays on art’s idea of the “white-cube”, a space for display, conceived as free of context. How does the framework, and re-framing of objects skew the interpretation of them?

These are ideas we took to Max, with a commission to think about styling as a practice, and the discipline of interpreting seasonal runway looks. What constitutes, or determines “best of season” in a context rife with internal politics? Is “best” a full look as it appeared on the runway of a key advertiser’s show? Or is styling an exercise in bricolage, in which pieces from different brands are mixed and appropriated by the stylist to their own end?

With the politics in mind, it seemed natural to engage Max in a conversation with his dad, Andrew, a socio-political journalist and academic in the UK. “This was my first time shooting with Talia Chetrit, and Erin O’Connor”, said Max. “And the first time my dad has ever interviewed me.”

Read the conversation between father and son in full in System issue No. 9.