Hollywood icon John Malkovich launched his eponymous menswear brand on January 3rd. This is Malkovich's fourth foray into fashion, but his first time using an online platform, johnmalkovich.com. Squarespace, the site's hosting platform, will run two ads starring Malkovich to promote the brand during Super Bowl LI.
Malkovich was introduced to Squarespace when he worked with the company on a benefit project for the David Lynch Foundation.
"Sandro Miller, a Chicago photographer I've worked with very often, and Squarespace came to me with a project where I would be the performer in eight re-creations of David Lynch's characters in cinema, one of them being David himself," said Malkovich.
Impressed with Squarespace, Malkovich approached the company to build a website for his new fashion line, John Malkovich. His previous three lines, Uncle Kimono, Mrs. Mudd, and Technobohemian, didn't have business organizations or web presences behind them, and Malkovich was determined to do it differently this time.
"I always felt that it was fruitless to do a line that couldn't be bought on the web, because if you don't have a web presence you're at the mercy of buyers and stores," said Malkovich. "Half or more of what you sell is going to be on the web. I want to be in direct contact with people who buy the clothes. This will be the first time this has happened for me."
Portions of the collection, however, are available in brick and mortar stores, like The Webster in Miami, and Margriet Nannings in Amsterdam. There is talk, with his Paris-based partners Francesco and Liliana Ferri, of opening a concept store in Paris where Malkovich would do most of the curating and John Malkovich would be an anchor line.
The collection is based on Malkovich's own aesthetic, with an emphasis on his love of fabric.
"This line will always reflect my experiences so it will be heavily influenced by the work I do and the places I go," said Malkovich. "It's a line for people who appreciate fabric - I'm a lifelong fabric collector and I'm pretty obsessive about that. I love interesting fabric that's a little bit out of the mainstream. So many places just use the cheapest they can find, otherwise, it cuts into their margins, and I don't do that. It wouldn't be worth it. A lot of the fabric I see doesn't inspire or interest me. I'm going to the Premiere Vision fabric fair in Paris next week, and I'll design Fall/Winter with what I find."
Most of all, Malkovich wants his designs to appeal to a wide swath of customers, and he hopes having a website will help him better understand his clients.
"Maybe the brand is sophisticated, but it's not for me to say that," said Malkovich. "It looks good on a variety of people. It's not too trendy, or too fashion-y, which can be irritating, in a Bruno, Sacha Baron-Cohen kind of way."