Vancouver’s Julian Bell sits down with Susie to talk about his decades-long modelling career, motorcycles and why a pair of Prada boots from Turnabout took him to Milan and back…
Turnabout Style Talks with Julian Bell
OK so Julian I’m thinking it’s fair to say we’ve worked together literally dozens of times…
*laughs* Yeah, we've had a lot of fun jobs together.
So fashion is definitely how we’ve become friends, but tell me about your connection with motorcycles, design and that extended trip to Italy a couple of years ago.
Well, design and aesthetics have always been a big passion of mine and of course things that make noise and go fast. So a few years ago I kind of let go of my Vancouver life and moved to Milan for a Masters in Automotive Design. Being in basically the center of the universe for fashion and design was hugely energizing.
I love that you took that leap, J. And how about your aesthetic. Guys sometimes struggle for adjectives to describe their personal style.
I probably agree with that statement. I find rather than having a strict style I most often flip between styles depending on the activity. If I'm camping in the woods I might be in Blundstones but I won't be caught in those on the streets of Vancouver. I'm drawn to simple, long wearing, functional pieces. If they have a little twist or unconventional detail I'm all over it.
And fashion is absolutely in your DNA. Your mom (noted former runway model turned uber model agent Liz Bell) is one of my personal industry icons and I’m super proud to call her my friend. So getting into this crazy business in some capacity was a pretty natural thing for you, then…
Yes definitely! I think being thrust into Oakridge fashion shows at 4 years old definitely shaped me. I've never been one to follow the seasonal or micro trends in fashion but I'm always conscious of the general principles.
We’ve talked in the past about how you’re a longtime Turnabout client which I love. Tell me about that?
So I was actually put on to Turnabout by my dad, who has a unique style and loves a great deal. One of my first purchases there was a pair of Prada boots and I think I paid $40 for them. Ever since then I was hooked.
I think I’ve seen you wear those boots! OK how about a recent favourite find you’ve purchased from us?
Last year I got a great blazer and shirt combo that I wore to the Dayton Cup. The shirt was chambre pink by dsquared and the blazer was a light blue window pane from Canali. They're both a bit different from my usual subdued wardrobe which was good, that's what the Dayton Cup is all about after all.
I’m so proud of you for saying window pane just now. I remember one time your mom said to me that she tells her models ‘we don’t buy fashion, we make fashion.’ It’s true that you can fall down the rabbit hole being around so much right-off-the-runway excess. Are you good at keeping your purchase temptations in check?
I like to think that I don't fall victim to it too much. One of the things that helps, and it might sound backwards, is that I'm always shopping. I'll usually be at Turnabout a few times a week. I keep a list of pieces that I want and just keep an eye out for them. Rather than having to shop when you need something. I find shopping under a deadline is a good way to stress and make compromises. You usually end up spending more and getting something you're not in love with.
Keep doing what you’re doing, J – and do not call me to tell me you’re retiring any time soon!
*laughs* I won't, I'm hoping to be down in LA doing my design work soon though. I'll be sure to fly back for our jobs though.