David Gandy and his XK120 charm London’s creative quarter
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ARTWORK: JIMMY C
ARTWORK: JIMMY C (AKAJIMMYC.COM) Picture perfect “I don't have a stylist, never have,” says Gandy. “I know what works for me” and then some, collaborating with the likes of D&G, Breitling (for whom he has just directed a short film) and, of course, Jaguar. The link, he says, between these things – clothes, watches, cars – is that they’re all passions of his. This passion fuels his creativity. “I think I express my creativity most through my style,” he says. “I don’t have a stylist, I never have. I’ve always had that stylistic edge. I know what works for me, I know what works for brands.” He’s taken this knowledge to firms such as British retail giant Marks & Spencer and Aspinal of London, where he’s helped create clothing lines. “People always say, ‘You don’t really design anything for M&S, do you?’” he says. “And I go, ‘That’s me, I’m the creative director.’ I’ve written for Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Telegraph and GQ and people go, ‘Do you use a ghost writer?’ People don’t believe you do anything.” Gandy is a hands-on kind of guy. As we hide from the rain in a local bar, we talk about the XK120, which is getting wet outside. It took 2,700 hours of hard graft and hard thinking by Gandy and Jaguar Classic to get it to its current, glorious state: the aim being to enter the 2020 Mille Miglia race from Brescia to Rome. Gandy, who has a racing licence, was heavily involved, to a point... “The trouble is,” he chuckles, “when I try designing a car, it still looks like one I drew when I was five. I’m quite artistic, but it’s no good. I’m always a creative director. I don’t design the clothes at M&S, I put the direction together and say what I want and get designers to do that.” His love affair with cars started early. Growing up in Essex, east of London, it was hard to avoid the influence of the Ford car plant in Dagenham. He and his friends all had cars (though not all cars are equal). “I used to go to my friend’s grandad’s and sit in his old Datsun,” he recalls. “We’d play Top Trumps and do handbrake turns in our go-karts. My first car was a 1988 Ford Fiesta. The electric windows didn’t work, but I loved it. Some of my friends’ dads worked at Ford and had nice cars. Mine was definitely the shittiest.” 54 / Jaguar Magazine
In person I ask if any other childhood passions have lasted. There is little hesitation before he says: “Animals”. Beneath the table a pair of ears prick up. They belong to my eight-month-old cockapoo called Brewster, who has patiently followed us around in the rain and has just benefited from a rub-down with a bar towel. Throughout the morning, Gandy has asked as many questions about Brewster as I have about Gandy. An ambassador for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London, he used to regularly foster homeless hounds. “I’ve always been animal mad,” he says. “I grew up with dogs and when I was 15 I worked weekends at a dog centre. When I was single and travelling all over the world, I couldn’t have a dog. People thought it was weird that I talked about dogs but didn’t have one, but I was trying to show what responsible dog ownership is about. If you’re not at home much, it’s not good to have a dog.” Eventually, one of his foster dogs stayed for ever. Gandy had begun a relationship with his partner Stephanie Mendoros and they fell in love with Dora, a mix-breed of uncertain age (though Gandy had her DNA tested to make sure her training regime was suitable). It Head turner It's hard to resist staring at the XK120 – even when you own it! was a key moment in a period of change for Gandy because, soon after, the couple had their first child, Matilda. Dora was a good warm-up act for fatherhood. “It prepares you for responsibility, absolutely,” he says. “You have to be at home at a certain time, they have to be fed. A child will grow up and become independent but a dog will always need you in the same way.” Gandy keeps his private life private. His level of fame, he says, is a comfortable one. He’ll never say no to a chat or a photo, but he won’t flaunt his family, especially on social media. Still, as we leave the bar and take a stroll through the local streets, interrupted just the once by some cheerful yells from inside a hair salon, he opens up about what they mean to him. “Matilda is with us and Dora usually is, too,” he says. “We travel as a proper pack. I love that. They’re away at the moment and today I had to work, so I didn’t see » Jaguar Magazine / 55
JAGUAR MAGAZINE celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.
The latest issue features a range of inspiring people: from Luke Jennings, creator of Villanelle, one of the most interesting television characters in recent times, to Marcus Du Sautoy, who ponders whether artificial intelligence is on the brink of becoming creative. Out on the road, we visit the US to explore the foodie heaven of Portland in a Jaguar I-PACE, take a Jaguar XE to the south of France to get a photographer’s viewpoint of the charming town of Arles, and much more.