Jenny Walton in Milano
Jenny Walton is one of the most interesting characters I have discovered so far. When I look at her photographs, I think she could be a 1950s Hollywood diva, with her stunning foulards and flowing skirts.
An illustrator, fashion collector, fashion director, jewelry designer, Walton is distinguished by an uncommon taste and grace.
Jenny grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York, a city where she lived for several years.
What was it like moving to Milan?
Moving to Milan is thrilling because it's extremely different from New York, where I had been living for the past 15 years. I've always wanted to live in Europe and I love Italian designs and the Italians themselves. Some of my friends who work here in fashion and art (but more behind the scenes) are some of the warmest, most talented people I've ever met, and it's enthralling to be with them in this city, which I think is having a wonderful moment and will only continue to grow.
Your style is unmistakable: what are the pieces of your wardrobe that you could never part with?
I have some old Prada pieces I've collected over the years that I could never give up. I also have some beautiful vintage dresses and jewelry that are very particular and one of a kind. Nothing particularly expensive but very unique and special to me.
When did you decide to become an illustrator?
I studied fashion design at Parsons and afterwards was working as an assistant designer for two years but in the second year of my job I started sketching on the hour long subway ride to work and over time it became my favorite part of the day. So I started illustrating more and more and it took a lot of my attention and I was very happy just sketching and listening to music on the train.
What kind of child were you? What did fashion represent in your childhood?
In my childhood I was very much a tomboy. Because I liked to be very comfortable and play outside a lot. It wasn't until high school where I started making my own clothes because I couldn't find anything I liked at the mall. I would make my own clothes or buy used clothing at thrift stores like Goodwill.
Those who know you know that fashion is just one of your great passions. Painting, photography, film, design and architecture are constants in your life. If you could decide to have dinner with one of your favorite characters, who would you choose?
It's impossible to choose and my answer would probably change every five minutes! I would love to meet someone from a different time period. I was just reading “Tender is The Night” by Fitzgerald and am always mystified by the world he creates through his writing, it would be fascinating to meet him for example. But next I'll look at a painting by Matisse or a dress by Schiaparelli and then that will be my answer. When I was in middle school and asked this question I said Freddie Mercury, because I was obsessed with Queen. Now maybe I would say Cristobal Balenciaga, since in my opinion he was one of the best of all time.
Now you are also a "Milanese a Milano": what are the places you love most about this city?
I love how much Italians love dogs (in New York you can't take them even into cafes anymore). So I love walking the dogs to Sissi or Marchesi for a coffee (and brioche for them of course).
In the last part of our interview Jenny confides to me why she is really a Milanese in Milan now. As she answers my questions she is waiting for a phone call from A2A: what could be more Milanese than that?
Thank you Jenny, I look forward to having coffee at Marchesi with you and your little dogs.