Photography by Mr Martien Mulder | Words by Mr Yale Breslin
Don't ask Mr Ramdane Touhami to describe his day job. He won't be able to give you a direct answer. Instead, he will tell you what has consumed his time for the past few weeks and will fill you with stories to make you think he has the coolest job in the world. Simply put, he's an artistic director who revives brands (such as candle maker Cire Trudon), a writer (he's currently working on a film script), a designer (he was the creative director behind his namesake clothing line) and a perfumer (he recently created a fragrance for a New York Fashion Week party). Currently residing in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn, Mr Touhami, who is set to move to London in the summer, showed us around his three-storey brownstone.
You've lived all over the world. Is there any place you would like to return to?
No. I get bored, and like to move every two years; it's something I've done since 1999. I'm going to London in July because I've been in New York for almost two years.
How do your wife and kids feel about this?
My wife doesn't like the idea - but I told her this is the rule and she's known it from the beginning. The world is such a big place - I don't want to miss out.
Where have you lived?
Paris, Tokyo, Morocco, India, New York and London. But it's more about chasing freedom, since I get bored so easily. To me, freedom is all about being where you want to be, and that is why I don't really like to manage people. Every time I do a project, it's not about the money. All I ask is that I'm free to do whatever I want.
You revived famed candle maker Cire Trudon. Did you have creative freedom in your role there?
The family who once owned it let me creatively direct it 300%. I even changed the name. I made sure that when I signed the contract it allowed me complete freedom. I only do this because I am extremely sure of what the results will be. I'm very precise about my ideas.
NO DRAWING NO CRY
"This book is by the artist Martin Kippenberger and encompasses a series of photographs of the stationery he found in hotels around the world"
"This is part of my Dieter Rams collection. I also have a few of his items in my Paris home"
ARTWORK BY MS YTO BARRADA
"She is one of the most famous Moroccan artists and she gave me this piece when I opened my restaurant in Tangier"
"These were very famous in the 18th century and are very hard to find. I thought I was going to reproduce them but it never happened"
"I simply like them and think they are beautiful. They work very well in my place"
Does this ever interfere with the creative process?
To create things, you have to have a clear depiction in your mind. That's why I don't like interference.
What are you currently working on?
I've just bought an 18th-century beauty brand. I can't really talk about it, but it's beautiful. It's a complete 18th-century experience and I'm going to completely revamp it. I'm going beyond what everyone thinks of as beauty.
How would you describe what you do?
I cannot describe my job but I can describe what I do every day. For example, right now I'm working with a car company on a new scent, while yesterday I worked on one for a big party that has to resemble blood. I'm also revamping a big American button store and working on a project with a hotel. I'm free in my choices, but I only pick things I know will be successful.
How do you know?
Besides being an artistic director I'm also a businessman. I work with numbers and I think about the full picture. I don't sell dreams - I sell products. I think this is very important to remember.
It seems as if you always enjoy yourself. Is this important?
Definitely. You have to feel the humour. That's why I won't accept boring projects. I have way too much fun in my life - you have no idea.
Is there something you haven't done yet that you want to do?
A few years ago I could have answered that question with a list, but now I'm happy. I'm stuck on this idea of revamping old companies. Lately I've had a lot of such offers and toyed with the idea, but I finally found this beauty company and I know it will be exceptional.
Who are your icons?
Jean Yanne [French actor and film-maker]. He was a very dark, humorous guy. I share the same humour and I'm a big fan. I also really like Dieter Rams' work - the guy who Apple copies from. I would love to interview him.
How would you describe your personal style?
I have very specific taste - but I only like to wear the clothes I make. I do a lot of my shopping in Japan because I'm a short guy. But I feel like a clown whenever I get dressed because I do it based on what I have to do that day. If I have an important meeting I'll put on a fancy suit, tie, shoes and so on. I went snowboarding last weekend and bought a whole new wardrobe. I'm a pure consumer but I also create my own things.