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Moncler – An Invitation to Dream
Jeremy O. HarrisPhotography Jack Davison

Jeremy O. Harris: ‘I’ve always had very vivid and super present dreams’

As Moncler’s Invitation to Dream exhibition opens in Milan, the US playwright talks Slave Play, Emily In Paris, and shares his advice for style exploration

Jeremy O. Harris has always been a dreamer. “I think I’ve always had very vivid and super present dreams,” he says. “There’s always been something fusing my waking state and my dream state that has made the act of dreaming very vivifying for me.” For Harris, these dreams come to life in a creative practice that straddles worlds, each theatre production, screenplay or design collaboration imbued with his poetic visions and unique way of seeing the world. It’s all the more fitting, then, that Harris is one of the 12 thinkers and creatives contributing to Moncler’s newest exhibition, An Invitation to Dream. Curated by Dazed founder Jefferson Hack, the project has taken over Milano Centrale railway station for the duration of Milan Design Week, transforming it into one of the world’s largest public galleries.

A series of handprinted lithographic prints by photographer Jack Davison take centre stage, with Harris posing for the black and white shots alongside creatives like Isamaya Ffrench, Julianknxx, Rina Sawayama, and Zaya. The intentionally blurred images were created by Hack and Davison “with the idea of slowing down time, capturing intimacy and conveying the humanity of the subject.” This idea of temporal deceleration is especially fitting for Milano Centrale, one of Italy’s most vibrant travel hubs which sees an average of 300,000 people daily. The intention, then, is that the exhibition is in conversation with the space and the people who move through it, which is also achieved through the second part of the project, a “hijacking” of the billboards in the station. Once these screens are re-wired, what travellers will see on them is a new “Dreamscape”, a space where images and quotes from the creatives come together, where text and portraits collide over the station’s bustling concourse.

Below, we catch up with Harris about why he wanted to take part in An Invitation to Dream, advice for style exploration, and what kind of play he’d write about Moncler.

Hello Jeremy – first of all, why did you want to take part in An Invitation to Dream?

Jeremy O. Harris: Why not? I’ve always been a fan of Dazed and Moncler, and having the ability to invite more people into the types of dreams that keep me company at night felt fun.

Has there been a time in your life when your own dreams have been clouded or less vivid?

Jeremy O. Harris: I think I’ve always had very vivid and super-present dreams. So present, in fact, that in my play KMS (THE FEELS) I share actual dreams from my dream journal in the back half of the play. There’s always been something fusing my waking state and my dream state that has made the act of dreaming very vivifying for me.

In terms of fashion, did you have any style icons growing up? Are they different from the ones you have today?

Jeremy O. Harris: I didn’t have many fashion icons growing up, but I do think there were characters in movies that really appealed to me as well as some musicians. I adored Lando Calrissian from Star Wars, Louis Garrel in The Dreamers, and Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas. In high school I also loved Ian Curtis from Joy Division, Andre 3000 and Ye. I get a lot of inspo from the book Take Ivy and I also loved the costume design of Godzilla Minus One – I would love to dress like that. I also feel quite lucky to be close to so many fashionable people… most of my friends inspire me.

“Dress in what brings you comfort or discomfort, excitement or disgust – as long as it brings you joy” – Jeremy O. Harris

Do you think you can rank the four fashion capitals of the world?

Jeremy O. Harris: I don’t even think I knew there were four fashion capitals. It feels like there should be more. I’ll talk about where I saw some of the most fashionable people, how about that?

One: Osaka, Japan. I loved the way there’s a beachy cool to the way people dress here that also harkens back to a moment decades before when people cared a lot about how they dressed.

Two: Tuscany, Italy. Last spring I was honoured to host my first writers residency in Tuscany at Monteverdi. When we weren’t writing we would take to the villages and what I observed were some of the most stylish people one could imagine at every age. 70-year-olds having an espresso could be GQ Man of the Year with the looks they served at half past noon. 

Three: New York City. There are just too many great looks to choose from to not choose this city. New York has an editing problem and that’s its strength.

Four: Paris. If there’s one city that doesn’t need an editor because clean and chic are in its fashion DNA, it’s Paris. The citizens are the pinnacle of class and chicness.

Speaking of Paris, how did you prepare for your role as fashion designer Grégory Elliot Duprée in Emily in Paris?

Jeremy O. Harris: I prepared for Grégory the way I hope all my actors would prepare by reading the lines and asking questions of the person who might say them. Through doing so I discovered a lot about how Grégory walks and talks that was delightful to express. I don’t think there is a more fun character I’ve been able to play because he can hold so much. He’s a clown but a loveable one.

Do you have any tips or advice for people wanting to explore and develop their own personal style?

Jeremy O. Harris: I think the best style advice one can ever receive is to have fun. Don’t read about what’s in or what’s out because everything has been or will be in or out. Dress in what brings you comfort or discomfort, excitement or disgust – as long as it brings you joy. Because joy is what we read on the stylish person that makes the clothes glow from within.

And if you were to write a Broadway play encapsulating the vibe of Moncler, what would that play look like? What would the story be, and what is the main character like?

Jeremy O. Harris: There’s something quite stately and cosy about the brand. There also tends to be an air of intellect to it. I think it would be a Tom Stoppard type play but set somewhere remote, almost as if Tom Stoppard and Agatha Christie had a baby. That’s what the play would be.

Finally, how did you feel about Slave Play coming to UK audiences?

Jeremy O. Harris: I’m excited about it. The UK is such a wonderful theatre country and I hope because this play borrows from so many classics it’ll resonate like it did in the US.

Moncler’s An Invitation to Dream is open from April 15 to April 21, 2024, at Milano Centrale Railway Station.

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