Jasper Conran

Katy Conover

Designer Biography

DOI: 10.5040/9781474260428-FPA030

Best known for his linear cuts, detail, and original textiles, Jasper Conran had clients such as Diana, the late Princess of Wales. Born in London on 12 December 1959, Conran is the son of the famous Terence and Shirley Conran. After their divorce, Conran lived with his maternal grandmother until being sent to boarding school at the age of seven. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City where he won a scholarship to study at the Parsons School of Design. At Parsons he was instructed in French couture methods (still the foundation for his designs). However, Conran was kicked out of Parsons after eighteen months and went on to work for Fiorucci, ICI, Courtaulds Textiles, and then for Wallis as a design consultant in 1977. He created his first women’s wear collection in 1978 at the age of nineteen and soon achieved fashion success. He organized Fashion Aid in 1985 (coinciding with Live Aid) and achieved the British Designer of the Year award in 1986. In 1990, Conran signed a ten-year agreement with Bidermann S.A. to produce and market his menswear line, which he had been designing since 1985.

His fashion house declined in the late 1980s, but he was able to salvage the business by building upon his consistent (critics say predictable) designs, which highlight simplicity. In the years following, he branched out from fashion design into costume design, interior design, and publishing, with Country published in 2010. In 1991, he won Costume Designer of the Year for The Rehearsal as well as the British Collections Award. In 1998 he developed the J by Jasper line (ready-to-wear) and J Home (housewares) for Debenhams. He has since launched Jasper Conran at Waterford (1999), Jasper Conran at Wedgwood (2001), Man and Woman (2003), Jasper Conran Interiors (2003), Jasper Conran at Chesney’s (2004), Jasper Conran at Tripp (2005), Jasper Conran eyewear (2008), J Childrenswear, and J Menswear.

In 2005 he opened his central London flagship store, which sells his fashions, furniture, homewares, and fragrance line as well as his couture bridal and bridegroom service. He was awarded the OBE for Services to Retail in 2008 and appointed chairman of the Conran Shop in 2011. In 2013 he was named Retailer of the Year. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of the Arts, London, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, and a trustee of the Wallace Collection.

Jasper Conran, Spring/Summer 1990 Photograph by Niall McInerney, Fashion Photography Archive

References and Further Reading

Find in Library Cartner-Morley Jess. ““Good Flair Day: Jasper Conran Turns on the Style”.” The Guardian ( London ), 19 February 2002 .

Find in Library Christy Marian. ““Designing for Royalty”.” The Boston Globe ( Boston, MA ), 5 August 1987. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-8022289.html (accessed 15 August 2013).

Find in Library De la Haye Amy. The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion 1947–1997 . London : V&A Publications, 1996.

Jasper Conran. Website. www.jasperconran.com/about (accessed 1 July 2013).

Find in Library Long Carola. ““Conran’s Timeless Style Takes No Chances”.” The Independent ( London ), 12 February 2008 .

Find in Library McDowell Colin. ““Jasper Conran”.” The Guardian ( London ), 31 October 1985 .