Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Liam Gallagher: 'Clothes Are Important, Man'
His rock star fashion label is a global hit and he'll still look cool at 40, the not entirely former wildman tells Luke Leitch.
As well as being the finest frontman of his generation, Liam Gallagher is a famously gifted dispenser of insults. The juiciest in this interview is aimed at Wayne Rooney's hair transplant.
"I'm not having it," cackles Liam from behind his red-tinted Lennon shades and mod-style mid-forehead fringe. "He looks like a f------ balloon with a f------ Weetabix crushed on top. He's better off as a skinhead, isn't he?"
Along with the insults and that swearing, an interview with Liam wouldn't be complete without mention of his brother Noel. The brothers have been away from each other and Oasis for several years now, touring with their own bands. Even their public feuding has ceased since Christmas.
"My mum told us we ought to chill out after that suing thing. I went, 'All right, cool'." He adds: "I can't talk to him, but I've never hated him. He's doing his thing and I'll do mine. But I did enjoy our little spats - since we called a truce the world's just boring. It's been hell. We need to get the party started again! Maybe in Japan…"
Ah, Japan: the reason for his appearance on the Style pages. Three years ago, Liam started his own clothes company. Named Pretty Green and dreamt up by Liam and his security chief-cum-Man-Friday Steve by a pool in LA, it was based on a straightforward idea: to produce the kind of attire that Liam, a self-confessed clothes addict, likes to wear. So think Beatles-y suits, Quadrophenia -ish parkas and polos, carefully cut denim and plenty of paisley.
Although Liam, unlike so many dubious celebrity "designers", has never professed to create the clothes himself, he does control the quality of everything - and stringently so. "If it isn't cool it gets binned," he says. "I know people might buy it anyway and not everyone's me, but that's how it is: you've got to look at every detail, otherwise you'll end up selling s---."
Pretty Green has since done pretty amazingly. In its first year of trading turnover was a reported £4 million, and there are 11 stand-alone shops across the nation. Now it is going international, says Liam: "We've got something going on in Copenhagen and there's Tokyo as well."
The company's first Japanese store opened last week at a party attended by several hundred label‑loving fans and Liam himself, who was passing through for a gig with his post-Oasis band, Beady Eye.
Liam's move from rock to retail (although he's still rocking) has not only been a success during a particularly difficult period for clothes sales, but seems to have come at the perfect time for a man whose fortune depended partly on record sales. These might have been destroyed by the internet - but you can't download a jacket.
"Yeah, you're right," he says. "No one's making money out of records so it has been a good move. But it wasn't a planned move, it just happened."
Gallagher is keen to avoid sounding too enthusiastic about being in the fashion business because, quite simply, he loathes fashion. "I don't want to get caught up in it," he sniffs. "I'm not hostile, but 90 per cent of the music business is run by idiots and I'll guess it's the same for fashion, know what I mean?"
To drive the point home, he adds: "I haven't got a favourite brand, I haven't got a favourite designer. I like what I like. I spend a lot of money on clothes so I know my s---. In fact, I probably spend more on clothes than 90 per cent of these fashion people because they get it all for nowt."
And although he stars in his own campaigns - as evidenced by the largest image on this page - he is even endearingly shifty about endorsing his own clothes. For instance, yesterday, he says, team Pretty Green dropped off some new designs during his band rehearsals. Suffering from a hangover, "I had to walk down Hampstead High Street from the studio with two Pretty Green bags. This bloke at the traffic lights was looking at me with my new clothes in big bags like Victoria Beckham would have -but whereas she'd only have one, I had two - and I could tell he was thinking I looked like a right ----."
He reserves particular disdain for other musicians who allow themselves to be dressed rather than dressing themselves. "I'll never have a stylist. If I like something, I get it and I put it on. Who are these judges? If you like something, you like it, and if someone else doesn't, well it doesn't mean you're wrong, does it? At least you went out and dressed yourself. If someone turned around to me and was like, 'here mate, take that rubbish off that you've worked your b------- off to buy and get this on you…" A look of withering froideur flits across his face.
He may despise fashion but Gallagher is perfectly happy about "growing" his brand. He is, he says, "passionate" about doing boys-wear on behalf of his sons, Lennon and Gene. "Lennon's 13 so he can start wearing the T-shirts but Gene [just 11] is desperately going, 'Dad, can I have a parka? Can I have this?'And I'm mad for getting them made."
Although he notoriously uses it to aggravate, a lot of Liam's ruckus-whipping rhetoric is, in truth, delivered with a self-deprecating wink. This comes out best today when I ask whether he plans to make Pretty Green perfumes - a question designed to rile him but which delights him instead. "Why not? I'm down with the fragrances. I love my Chanel Bleu - I love it, man - and I get non-stop compliments off the girls who work in toy shops, man. I put loads on, you can smell me coming. So I'd definitely do it, without a doubt. I've got no idea how you go about it, though."
Next month Liam turns 40. He plans a party - "just another party" - and doesn't seem worried about the milestone: "Bring it on!"
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' new single 'Everybody's On The Run' is available now digitally and in stores more details can be found here. Source - Latest Oasis, Beady Eye And Noel Gallagher News
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