Quentin Jones'

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Sitting languorously in her brand new Kentish Town home, wearing her boyfriend’s blue shirt and not a scrap of makeup, 31-year-old Quentin Jones radiates the good life glow. A prolific film maker, illustrator and photographer, best known for collaborating with high-end fashion brands (including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Victoria Beckham) her taut mind boasts both academic prowess (she read Philosophy at Cambridge) and a graphic, artistic discipline (she also completed a Master’s in illustration at Central Saint Martins).

Born in Toronto, but raised from the age of five in Primrose Hill, she also possesses a pair of blade sharp cheekbones which helped her make a lucrative living as a model in her late teens and early 20’s. Add in a cucumber cool North London attitude (‘it’s not that I don’t give a shit, but growing up in Camden stops you from taking anything too seriously,’ she says) and it’s little wonder this brains, beauty and balls combo has so captivated the fashion industry’s biggest labels.

Whether it’s a black and white collage combining new season catwalk wares, Cara Delevingne and a pair of cat’s ears or a surrealist film dissecting Miley Cyrus’ nearly naked body, the result of Quentin’s work is always raw, feminine and attractively unhinged . ‘I often pull apart faces and try to put them back together again. I love animals – but you have to be careful – cat’s faces fit in a way that doesn’t look grotesque. Whereas if you were to cut a dog’s face with a human’s and hand it to a fashion brand, they’d be like, ‘Ok, cool. You’ve just made our model look like a monster’. If you’re described as catlike or birdlike, it’s a compliment whereas doglike or cowlike…-Not so much.’

Her lo-fi, mixed media approach to digital branding is immediately distinctive in part, she thinks, because, ‘the work is often viewed on screens. To have something that feels tactile on a screen is appealing - particularly when the trend is for everything becoming slicker and quicker. Seeing paper rip in that context has been where a lot of my success has come from.

Seven months into her first pregnancy and still putting in intense 10 hour days in her studio, aside from her talent and immediately identifiable style, it’s Quentin’s work ethic that has catapulted her to international success. ‘My dad has always worked incredibly hard and it inspired us (Quentin is one of a fused family of six siblings) to do the same. He’s 75 and still has his own architectural practise which does very well. He also taught me that in creative fields you should never be worried about how many peers you have or what they’re doing, because the cream always rises to the top.’

Quentin also credits her parents with defining the early boundaries of her taste, ‘Both of my parents are architects and have always had modernist things in their house. I also think part of my taste is down to my personality – I’m a really impatient person, so I’m drawn to work which you can see has been done quickly. I need a pace or my mind just wanders.’

But it’s not all graft – indeed Quentin espouses the importance of visceral pleasure and balance in her lifestyle. ‘Making time for good food and wine and exercise is so key. It would feel like a massive injustice to work through dinner so it happens very rarely and only in moments of total panic.’ Cooking is a passion– but she advocates simple soul food over fancy trimmings. ‘In the morning I make porridge with cashew nut butter, banana and maple syrup – which makes getting out of bed pretty exciting.’ Post-baby, she’s also looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of her yoga practise, ‘I do a lot of classes at a nearby tri-yoga centre, it’s just simple, no frills but it’s amazing.’

While Quentin says she doesn’t keep up with the vicissitudes of fashion (‘I definitely don’t watch all the shows or pay attention to ‘must-have’ pieces’), her sense of style has seen her attract glossy magazine editorials as well as many a party invitation. ‘Right now I’m just trying to work out what I can fit into in the morning,’ she laughs gesturing at her neat bump, ‘but usually I’m a sucker for party dresses and boots. I’ve amassed lots of really extravagant dresses and shelves of boots – usually black leather and flat. I also obsess over winter coats every year. I feel like I’ve got all the classics I need, so this time I might go full-on with a brightly coloured fur – something really unnecessary.'

As for aspirations, Ms Jones has her eye on exploring long-length film and working with talented actors. ‘I’m making baby steps into exploring narratives and it would be nice to step out of purely doing fashion projects. I want to use my techniques to tell a story now rather than to just paint a picture.’ And who wouldn’t want to hear what she has to say?

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Interior

Interior

Cosy at Home

'This is the first house I’ve owned. Overall I stick to a base of black and white with colour added over the top – in a similar vein to my work. I’m not drawn towards earthy, neutral colours, I tend to go for more graphic palettes. Up until now, it’s always been white walls, but in this house we have a blue bathroom and my wardrobe room is grey. I’ve really branched out.

'Kentish Town is not necessarily my dream location, but it’s the best compromise I can think of for my life at the moment. It’s a great central area - only a 20 minutes walk to Soho - and it’s neighbourhood-y with little shops and not too many chains. You’re right next to the Heath which is lovely in the summer.

'I love the fact you can open up the sitting room doors fully and the garden becomes part of the living space. It feels like one long room with the glass in the middle and you get a lush green wall at one end. I also love that I have a whole bedroom as a wardrobe – it is the biggest luxury. Now we’re having a baby, we’ve gone from having a three bedroom house to a one bed. So no overnight guests.

'I’m really quite tidy. My studio is a total mess, but my house is orderly. I don’t like being in houses where you feel like you wouldn’t notice if things were dirty. I want to be able to tell that a space feels clean. I’m pretty organised - although, the aesthetic of how I might put things together or hang things isn’t neat, nor minimal necessarily.

'One of my favourite gems is a funny little antiques store off Essex Road called Mr Allsorts. It’s a really crusty shop full of old signage and things. I bought this old architectural ruler which was once used to measure the height of houses. The furniture is a mix of antiques and pieces we picked up in Marrakech earlier this year. Mustapha Blaoui on the edge of main souk is a huge Aladdin’s cave of amazing rugs, tables and lights. They are reliable at delivering too.

'I designed the tiles in my bathroom with Cement Tile Company on Columbia Road. They offer 3D visualisation service so you can see what your designs would look like on your floor as a repeating pattern. I’ve created an optical illusion with a cubist black and white bathroom floor. One of our builders said it made him feel sick - he was, like, ‘you don’t want to come in here with a hangover.’

'I commissioned the Disney Prince light for my boyfriend. My friends gave him the nickname when we first started seeing each other. They were rolling their eyes one holiday, asking me where my Disney Prince was and it stuck. For his first birthday we shared, I gave him his nickname in bright neon pink light.

'When it comes to my own work, I hang what I happen to have always had in my house. All the framed works that I’ve had from shows are boxed in my studio, so the pieces here are things that I’ve given to my boyfriend with a lot of old stuff from my MA. It’s a bit weird buying pieces from my contemporaries. For me it’s more about exchanging works with other people. I did one swap with an illustrator called Hattie Stewart so I’ve got some of her pieces hanging too, though I wish I had more.

'I like to think that I’m not necessarily going to stay in London, although every time I say it, my boyfriend winces. I like the idea we would spend a period back in New York, because I miss it quite a lot. If that were to happen it would be nice to own a house in Brooklyn. But if we are to stay in London and make much more money, it would be about buying a house in Primrose Hill which is very close to here and where I grew up. To me it’s the perfect London area.'

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"I commissioned the Disney Prince light for my boyfriend. My friends gave him the nickname when we first started seeing each other."

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Bathroom

"I’ve created an optical illusion with a cubist black and white bathroom floor."
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Recipe

Recipe

Apricot Delight

'Desserts are always an afterthought for me – I much prefer to spend ages on main courses or starters. But this super quick, delicious recipe using seasonal produce is really good. This summer in France, there was an abundance of ripe apricots and dribbling saffron mixed with honey on top works so well. It’s also really pretty which I think is important for desserts.

'I learnt to cook by helping my mum in the kitchen from a really early age. I think if you’re a good cook it’s usually instinctive once you’ve learnt the basics. If you can imagine flavours – and imagine the way two flavours would taste together – it’s a good indication of your instincts.

'Everyone has always said that mum should set up a restaurant. I think architects tend to be good cooks because it’s part of the culture of good living. The food is the other side of architecture and art – entertaining people within your space is what makes it vital. She had no training, but now three of my dad’s children are professional cooks.

'My sister Jemima has an amazing catering company called Tart. Growing up I always thought that I was the one that cooked and now Jemima, who is far more sweet natured than me in the kitchen, has become an infinite culinary resource. If I’m having a dinner party, I can ask her how to make anything so I don’t need to worry about reading recipes anymore.

'I’m a bit of a food snob. I hate things which I consider to be naff like sweetcorn or grated carrot in salads. I think visually it reminds you of motorway food. I also hate the English chain culture - Pizza Express, Pret a Manger, chain, chain, chain. I lived in New York until last summer - which obviously isn’t the rest of America - but downtown, all the popular spots and popular streets don’t have chains. Variety really affects the quality of your life.

'I entertain a lot. The nice thing about moving back from New York to London is having more space to have people around. I love throwing dinners because you don’t have to talk to everyone at the beginning – you can let them all amuse themselves and settle in while you’re in the kitchen with a glass of wine.'

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Roasted apricots with honey and saffron, and ricotta

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 10 apricots
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • a big pinch of saffron
  • a little butter
  • 5 tbsp ricotta
  • a splash of cream, or creme fresh
  • lemon zest

Method

01

Half all of the apricots and put them in an oven dish - the right size so that the apricots fit snugly all lying back side down. You can add a dot of butter underneath them all, and a dot on the top... or not if you are trying to be healthy.

02

In a pan warm the honey with the saffron until the honey is liquid, but not boiling. Divide the syrup between the fruit, filling up the pit-holes.

03

Put the apricots in an oven at 200 C for 15 minutes, and finish them by sticking them under a hot grill for a minute to caramelize their tops.

04

Serve while hot, with a big spoonful of ricotta that has been whisked with a splash of single cream or creme fresh and some lemon zest to taste. You can also whisk in a little honey if you like things on the sweet side.

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Style

Style

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"I also obsess over winter coats every year. I feel like I’ve got all the classics I need, so this time I might go full-on with a brightly coloured fur – something really unnecessary."

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Beauty

Beauty

Top Shelf

'I wouldn't say I have a beauty routine other than cleaning my face and moisturising it day and night. If I am feeling lazy I won't wear makeup at all, otherwise I put on a bit of mascara and use foundation as concealer. I should probably make more time. But, at night I like wearing more makeup. Sometimes a bright red lip, sometimes a black flick above my eye.'

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Travel

Travel

Villa Jones

'Villa Jones is a house my parents designed and built 15 years ago. It’s located in the mountains about 45 minutes north of St Tropez and it’s like a slice of LA in the South of France. The structure is white, long and lean with an extended pergola and columns lining the perimeter. It is without a doubt, my parent’s greatest love – except for us I hope!

'The villa has the best view on Earth. You’re just above the top of a huge valley rolling into the sea. Some days the clouds get stuck in the hills, on others the sea is hidden by the fog, but there’s not much between you and the waves.

'We usually go as a family for a couple of weeks in July or August. I think it’s been really great to have a home for everyone to meet up in and be on holiday mode. As I’ve grown up I’ve realised its better when my parents are there than when they’re not – not least because my dad runs an efficient bar service. My mum told him it’s not allowed to open a minute before midday, so he kind of paces around anxiously at 11.45am until he can make Campari and sodas with fresh orange for everyone by the pool.

'There is a huge inbuilt barbeque, so you can do these huge fiery feasts with local fish, lamb and sausages. There are so many amazing food markets in the towns nearby, so everyday we go off and see what’s there, then cook the best of what we find. The local restaurants are hit and miss, whereas the produce is incredible – so it’s best to stick to at home dining.

'As kids we used to go on holiday to Tuscany, but we would always break our journey in the town closest to Villa Jones. My lasting memory of the area is the sound of crickets. As soon as you get out of the car, it’s like the beat of maracas; a buzzing, electric hum that’s in the air all the time.

'Off-season we drive down to the coast, swim in the sea and have lunch – sea bass and cold rosé on the beach. It’s beautiful in May or September, but completely different in the peak of summer.

'We go for long walks above the house along twisted paths into the hills. Otherwise it’s just pretty hedonistic - laying around, sun-worshiping, reading, drinking and eating.'

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"You’re just above the top of a huge valley rolling into the sea."

"It's like a slice of LA in the South of France. The structure is white, long and lean with an extended pergola and columns lining the perimeter."
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Bookshelf

Bookshelf

Reading List

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It had to end sometime

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