Between 1910 and the mid-1930s, spats became an elegant men’s fashion accessory, often associated with gangsters and dandies. With the revival of vintage style in the last decade, spats have made a comeback and once again are seen on the streets of London, Paris, New York… You might have noticed them on Ryan Gosling- he was combining them in a modern rock’n’roll twist, while Prince Charles wore them with a more former attire. We even spotted Jessica Chastain with Chanel version of this once must-have shoe accessory. During the Oscars 2013 Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum channeled Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for “The Way You Look Tonight”, and Channing wore John Patrick Christopher spats, exact model that we have seen on Johnny Depp during the Met Gala 2014. Learn the words of Irving Berlin‘s song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and read our exclusive interview with “The Father of Spats”, John Patrick Christopher.
How did you start? When did you realize you wanted to design spats?
I started to design spats because I wanted to have them for my outfit for a music performance. I was looking for a modern version of the spats Michael Jackson wore in “Smooth Criminal”. I did a lot of research but I could not find any stylish spats at all. All the spats that I found looked cheap, they did not fit well. And I thought to myself: how could it be that such a wonderful accessory which was truly a part of fashion history seem to have been completely forgotten after the Second World War? So, I decided to do it myself: let’s create the most spectacular spats and give an update to the spat-history.
White spats for the gentleman
Who are the persons that wear spats nowadays?
It was – it is – and it always will be: dandies and dandy girls. But what is a dandy? A dandy is a person who has decided to follow his dreams in style. It’s something like celebrating Christmas every day, because you are following your dreams!
Your collection is completely handcrafted in Germany, every piece that you design has a clients signature and it is very luxurious. What does luxury mean to you?
There are different types of luxury. Health is luxury, to love and be loved is luxury, time is luxury… In fashion, sustainability is the new luxury.
Tell us about your design style. What makes your collections unique in the industry?
This is our promise: sustainable, spat-tacular, luxury fashion! All our spat-tacular products are 100 % vegan and hand crafted in Germany by small tailors. Created with 100 % sustainable energy and a firm-bank that does not support big oil or weapon industry. Or in a short term: “Helping humanity stylish as fuck!”
John Patrick Christopher with his partner Martin Christopher
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration is everywhere. Here! Now! The goal is to feel it, to sense it. To be filled with it. It’s like you are a “sponge” who is filled with a lot of Zeitgeist input. You only have to squeeze yourself at the right moment. The essence that you get is your personal art.
Tell us about the creative inspiration for the last spat-case collection?
The idea came from my colleague Martin. He asked me to design a smartphone-case. Why spending money for a boring case that has a boring design when when we can do it ourselves 300 times better??! Good idea! Three years later when Martin’s smartphone broke, I finished the design. So you see, almost in time! But the design is truly amazing! It looks like a classic design object for modern smart phones. I have never seen a smart phone case like that. In my opinion it is already a classic! I think it will never get out of fashion as long as there are smart phones. But feel it for yourself: www.JohnPatrickChristopher.com
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special?
I love every piece. Every design is great, but only together it gets beyond great. It gets spat-tacular! It’s like in the South Park episode, when Eric Cartman wanted to have unique robots from all of his friends to his birthday party. Only with ALL of the robots combined he could create the “Ultimate Mega Megaman”. Uncertain, Kenny did not buy him the last missing robot, so he could not finish it, and was pissed like hell … But I’m thinking you get the spat-picture: each design is great but only combined it is spat-tacular.
Channing Tatum was wearing white John Patrick Christopher Spats at the Oscars 2013
Who would you most like to see wearing your collection?
I hope one day they will create a Transformers movie where there is a black oldtimer with “white rims”. And when this oldtimer transforms into a robot, these white rims should transform into white spats. Wouldn’t that be great?! A super black Transformer with only white spats on his feet! Maybe this Transformer-robot will also dance like Fred Astaire… If someone can build me this robot let me know. I’ll buy it and call it “SPAT-O-BOT!”
How would you describe your personal style?
Simple answer: 100% dandy.
How do you like to wear your favorite spats?
The best accessory for John Patrick Christopher fashion is to wear it with a smile. Fashion should be fun! If you lose fun in fashion than it really becomes dangerous.
Who are your style icons?
I don’t have style icons. I don’t have icons at all. I think if you have icons you can never be unique. Find your way – be yourself in style.
What are your current projects?
You remember I told you I am ready with the interview by Wednesday? Sorry I could not make it because I was busy with dancing with Martin in the streets! A stylist told me that Young Thug, the most pushed rap superstar in the US, is now wearing our SPATS V12.
Mark Bridges received an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for “The Artist” (2011) and another for “Phantom Thread” (2017). Mr Bridges also received John Patrick Christopher SPATS. Take a look at the video bellow.
For more information follow John Patrick Christopher on Instagram
Vesna Filipovic for Fashionela