Growing up among deeply conservative Catholics in Southern Holland, Job Smeets drew stares for wearing pleated pants. “I was always a weird guy in the way I dressed,” admits the artist and designer, whose sartorial irreverence has only increased with age. As a founder of the firm Studio Job, Smeets dreams up eclectic, imaginative objects that gracefully straddle high and low, such as plush couches shaped like hot dogs and bronze lamps that resemble lusty bananas. Dressed in his usual kooky, colorful attire, he looks straight out of central casting. “I’d describe my style as Method fashion,” he says, referencing Marlon Brando. “I create looks that come from specific areas—football, motorcycles, rock ‘n’ roll—and then I mix them all together.”
The Fashion Bricolage of Job Smeets
The Dutch provocateur wears his irreverence on his sleeves.By KARIN NELSON
Photographs by REBECCA SHARKEY December 06, 2019
He picks up pieces that are intrinsic to wherever he travels, like a WASPy Polo sweater purchased in the Hamptons this past summer and a cowboy hat found at a shop in Nashville once frequented by Elvis. “It’s so hard it’s like a hat for a doll,” he says. Back home, he pairs them with items given to him by fashion houses Jil Sander and Viktor & Rolf, whose designers are, he notes, “his best friends;” as well as vintage dead-stock accessories like 1977 Ray-Ban Shooter glasses and a 1972 Tag Heuer Calculator watch sourced from dealers. “I got guys,” he says, discreetly. It takes him five minutes to get dressed, and he never wears the same outfit twice. He also doesn’t care what people think of them. “I like a little bit of shock factor, but I don’t get dressed for others; I do it for myself,” he explains.
That said, he’s considering doing away with all the different looks, and just sporting silk pajamas he custom-made at Harrods. “They’re more elegant than a suit,” he says, adding that they also cut the dry-cleaning bill and thus help the environment. “People change their clothes three times a day—it’s unnecessary. Maybe pajamas should get better PR.”