Peter II and Harry Brant

Andy Warhol
Steven Klein

Peter Brant II, age 18, and Harry Brant, age 16, grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. But in terms of cultural influence, they were raised at the epicenter of the worlds of art and fashion. As the sons of Interview's chairman, Peter M. Brant, and model Stephanie  Seymour, the brothers have been fortunate to receive an early education in everything from the brushstrokes of an Andy Warhol canvas to the contours of an Azzedine Alaïa dress (and they didn't have to travel far from their childhood bedrooms to see either of those things up close). Now, deep into their teenage years, Peter II and Harry are affable, well-spoken young men with passionate, if encyclopedic, interests in arts and aesthetics. But while the brothers are close in age, they do have their own individual hopes and dreams: Peter II is interested in pursuing acting when he begins studying at Bard this fall; while Harry, still in high school, is currently taken with both fashion and furniture.

Interview
's founder, Andy Warhol, often said that he created the magazine to give the kids something to do. He also understood that sometimes the best way to get to know someone was to ask the simplest of questions. Thus, Peter II and Harry have both completed the first in what will be a new, ongoing feature in which subjects will be put a series of questions culled from a larger list of actual questions that Andy asked people like Bianca Jagger, Michael Jackson, Jodie Foster, Rudolf Nureyev, and Diana Ross in the 1970s and '80s.


ANDY WARHOL: What's your favorite color?

HARRY BRANT: Black. And white. Maybe it's white right now. For a room, I think more mahogany mixed with tan but with a very smooth finish.

WARHOL: Do your horses step on your flowers?

HARRY: They don't step on our flowers. First of all, I tend to lead a horse away from the flowers. My mother would get very upset if the horses trampled them. Also, our flowers are protected with a hedge so that animals can't get to them. But I've really been enjoying riding lately. It's very beautiful this year in Connecticut, with the willow trees and the rain. So if I'm not on the polo track, I'm riding. I ride around the trails. It's lovely, very Old World, as if you're in a time machine.

WARHOL: What's your favorite movie?

HARRY: It's a tie. Gone With the Wind [1939], Citizen Kane [1941], and Breakfast at Tiffany's [1961]. I also love How to Steal a Million [1966]. It's an Audrey Hepburn film in which her grandfather and father are counterfeit artists. Her father fakes all of these great Cézannes and Van Goghs. So one day, a museum is going to authenticate one of her grandfather's pieces, so she has to go and steal it, and she falls in love with the man who is investigating her father. She wears head-to-toe Givenchy and these amazing silk masks. It's really elegant.

WARHOL: Do you want to be a famous painter?

HARRY: No. An artist's life would be very difficult. It takes a lot out of you. I could never be a painter. I don't think I have the talent or skill or persistence. I don't exactly know what I want to do. That's what I'm trying to pinpoint. I definitely want to do something with a creative aspect that encompasses fashion, art, and beauty.

WARHOL: Are you interested in furniture?

HARRY: I love furniture, especially Asian furniture. I have this fantasy of having some sort of island off Japan that has little pagodas and there's no technology allowed and everyone travels by carriage—kind of like the Court of Kyoto. I'm obsessed with the Court of Kyoto. I also like 18th-century furniture, but Peter [Harry's brother] taught me everything I know about that. He really got me interested in the Palace of Versailles and Louis XIV, Louis XV furniture. I also love Art Deco and '60s furniture.

WARHOL: What kind of clothes do you like?

HARRY: Everything. A mix of women's and men's clothes. Even for the shoot I did for Interview, they needed to get a lot of women's clothes because I'm so skinny. A lot of men's clothes don't fit me—they have to be really heavily altered. But I love a bolero! I've got to have one of those. I love very clean lines and then a little craziness. I like to keep changing clothes and almost dress up to take on different characters—to be a bullfighter, or a soldier, or a general, or a prince, or a robber.

WARHOL: What did you have for breakfast?

HARRY: A bagel with cream cheese.

WARHOL: Do you have a TV?

HARRY: I don't. I don't have a TV in my room. My room in Connecticut is the same it's been since I was, like, 5. I have my princess Indian theme by Molesworth, which is beautiful. I think a TV would ruin the décor. It's just not something I grew up with.

WARHOL: What do you love about New York City?

HARRY: That you can go outside at any time and go to a Duane Reade that's open 24 hours. I just love that it's always moving and how all the different scenes that mix so well. I've been coming into the city since I was 7 to go to museums, gallery openings with my parents, and even shoots with my mom. If I hadn't had that opportunity, I would be a completely different person. It's made me really open-minded—which I know is really obnoxious to say because typically people who say they are open-minded and down-to-earth are not. But New York is the best.

I don’t have a tv in my room. my room in connecticut is the same it’s been since i was, like, 5. i have my princess indian theme by molesworth, which is beautiful. i think a tv would ruin the dÉcor.—harry brant

Current Issue
September 2014

WARHOL: Are you a health-food person?

HARRY: I can't be. I'm so skinny as it is. And it just wouldn't fly in my family. My mom and I like to eat brownies and whipped cream together. We need our bagels and our sweets. And without those things, I'd wither away.

WARHOL: Do you like when it rains in Paris?

HARRY: I love it when it rains anywhere, especially Paris. It reminds me of that scene from Breakfast at Tiffany's when she's looking for her cat. One of my favorite things to do is walk through Central Park in the rain and listen to "Moon River." I have my little spots in the park that I go whenever it's raining. Even when it rains in Connecticut, it makes me feel like I'm in some sort of old British novel. The rain is very mysterious and a little bit foreboding and ominous. It's my favorite weather.

WARHOL: Do you go to fashion shows?

HARRY: Yes, I do go to fashion shows. I try not to go to too many, otherwise it kind of becomes a hassle and takes the fun out of it. I see a lot of editors who don't even look at the show. They literally will not even look up. I think that's when it gets sad, like you've been around the block too many times, so it loses all of its surprise. It's important to hold on to the ability to be surprised. But I love going to shows. I love the pageantry of it. I love the Chanel show where they go crazy with the backdrop, and I love a show like Azzedine Alaïa's where you're just in a white room and the clothes are so fantastic. It's incredible. I've never been to a Galliano show. He's one of my favorite designers, so that's a bummer.

WARHOL: Are you collecting art?

HARRY: I have a Josh Smith that he gave me for my birthday. When I was about 9 years old, I asked for stocks for my birthday. I was really into stocks then. I got Apple stocks because I thought it was a cool company. I bought them when they were low. They were quite high when I sold them at 13. So with that profit, I really wanted to buy one of Josh's paintings. Stocks had lost their allure for me. So I called Luhring Augustine [Gallery] over and over, and Josh invited me to his studio and gave me a painting for my birthday. And so I still had the money from the stocks, and with the help of my brother Dylan, who knows a lot about art, I got a Nate Lowman. I also have an Urs Fischer, which I ordered when I was 12. Only recently did Urs tell my dad he's going to finish my piece. Now I'm trying to figure out how to pay for it!

WARHOL: Do you think Americans have good taste?

HARRY: I think that collectively, as a country, we don't have good taste. You see Japanese tourists walking around New York and they are dressed up to the point that if they showed up at a fashion party, people would say, "What are they wearing? It's fantastic!" I hosted a party with Miu Miu for Fashion's Night Out last year. It was a competition to see who could dress in the best '40s clothes. There were only maybe five good people that did it well. Then I went online and saw the Tokyo version of the party, and they hit it out of the park. They went all-out. They were so authentic. People in other countries are much more confident in what they wear, whereas in America, everyone ends up wearing the same things. And if you wear something that's not the same, it's like, "What are they wearing?" It's very judgmental, which is sad. That's why, when I see someone on the street who's wearing something crazy, even if I don't like it, I just think, Good for them, for going for it.

WARHOL: Are you going to write a book?

HARRY: Yes, my memoirs, and then hopefully they get turned into a movie. That's my goal, for a book to be turned into a movie. And then I get to control the soundtrack! There would be a lot of artsy scenes, like of me running through a field. It would be very cool. I think Sofia Coppola should direct it, even though nobody's ever asked to make a movie about me.

ANDY WARHOL: What color are your eyes?

PETER BRANT II: Brown . . . ish. Sometimes they turn green. I have weird chameleon eyes. When I’m really, really cold, my eyes turn a different color. But I’ve always wished I had purple eyes.

WARHOL: What do you think of American kids?

PETER II: A lot of my friends, when I was younger, and even still today, are European kids. American kids can be a lot more immature than European kids. European kids have a bigger grasp of being an adult at a younger age than American kids. In Europe, kids not only have a lot more freedom, but they’re trusted more—you can drink at a younger age, et cetera. I have a lot of friends that went to school in Europe. European kids are very mobile. They’re all over the place all the time. I don’t know how they do it, because I could never travel that much. They’re like, “Oh, come to Shanghai!” or, “I’ll be in Moscow for the weekend.” I’m like, “I can’t do that. I can’t change time zones as often as you can.”

WARHOL: Do you believe in Communism?

PETER II: I’ll answer this with a quote I came across yesterday. It was something like, “Communists are people who read Marx and Lenin, and anti-communists are people who understand Marx and Lenin.”

WARHOL: What’s your favorite movie?

PETER II: I can never pick one! Fingers in lots of pies. I would say right now my favorite is To Catch a Thief [1955] by Alfred Hitchcock.

WARHOL: Do you go to the fashion shows?

PETER II: I do! I just came from Paris, which I love, for the couture shows. Some people think it’s a dying art, but I think it’s been revitalized from what it was. What I always find disappointing at couture shows is when they do pieces that are so intentionally never to be worn. Not that everything has to be worn around in a practical manner. It can be extremely fanciful and crazy and outrageous. But there are some pieces that were not intended to be worn, and that defeats the purpose of couture. That’s what’s killing it. It’s becoming just an advertisement for the brand where they can showcase their skills and no one ever wears it. So what’s the point?

WARHOL: If you got cast in a movie tomorrow, what would be your ideal role?

PETER II: I’d love to play Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. The narrator is pretty good too, and so is Daisy’s husband . . . Well, Tom Buchanan is almost a villain. I could play a villain well.

WARHOL: Are you a health-food person?

PETER II: I think that you can’t live your life to the fullest if you’re always healthy. I’d rather die eating rich food than live for 100 years eating macrobiotic.

WARHOL: Do you need your eight hours a night?

PETER II: It really depends on the night. I would say most nights I try to get eight hours of sleep, but I’m something of an insomniac and a night owl. Even if I’m in bed at 10 P.M., I could stay awake until one in the morning. I can’t help it. I’ll sit around in my room for six hours, or just lie there.
WARHOL: Are you going to study acting?

PETER II: I’m going to be taking classes at Bard in acting. I’m majoring in acting and I’m trying to take some classes with a coach in the city as well. I’m trying things out and seeing where it goes.

WARHOL: Where do you eat in New York?

PETER II: I like restaurants that have a good atmosphere and good people. There’s nothing worse to me than a restaurant where everyone in the restaurant is celebrating their birthday. In New York, it kind of sucks when you go to a new restaurant that’s cool and fun and then a few months later it’s over. I will spend hours with friends trying to decide where we are going to eat. If you pick the wrong restaurant, it can actually be really lame and ruin the night. I’m really into No. 8 right now, which just opened. And there are staple restaurants—Nobu, The Mercer Kitchen. And a place I’ve been going to for a few years now that I really love is EN Japanese Brasserie. It’s really good Japanese food. And they have private rooms in back, so you can go there and have a really chill, relaxed dinner.

WARHOL: Are you collecting art?

PETER II: I have a couple of paintings. I really like Elizabeth Peyton right now. And Karen Kilimnik, who we just did a show on at the [Brant] Foundation [Art Study Center]. And David Altmejd is also one of my favorite New York artists.

WARHOL: Do you want to live forever?

PETER II: It depends. I would live forever if I could live forever with another person. If it were two people, we would live forever together. I’m sure we would fight a lot and we’d get really sick of each other, but we could do a bunch of awesome stuff through the centuries and be like, “Oh, my god, do you remember Michelangelo?”

WARHOL: What kind of clothes do you like now?

PETER II: I go in and out. Fashion Week brings out the crazier side of my style that is more like how I used to dress at 16 or 17. Colorful. All those weird designer pieces. Lots of embroidery and brocade and pins. And ascots. I used to wear ascots all the time. Now I wear them occasionally, but in general I’ve been going a lot more classic. I’ve been very Armani in my style. I redid my whole summer look with great fabrics and simple, uncomplicated pieces. It’s comfortable. But it really depends.

WARHOL: Where do you dance?

PETER II: Not on tables! But I go to clubs occasionally, dance clubs. I don’t think house music is very conducive to dancing. I like when they mix it up—old music and new music. But I do like to go to places with a little bit of dancing. I always try to dance at least for a few songs. I have a couple girlfriends who are very light on their feet, but then there are other people who can’t dance at all—very heavy on their feet. They’re just standing there, looking awkward, and you’re dancing around them. I have a lot of guy friends whose dance is standing holding a bottle in one hand and waving their other hand around, making a gesture with their finger. Is that a dance?

WARHOL Did you meet a lot of famous artists that your father knew?

PETER II: I did. When I was growing up, I met a lot of artists. And sometimes I’d get a little birthday present from them. A painting or a drawing. I have a drawing from George Condo from the day my mother sat for her portrait with him. She had promised to pick me up from school and do something fun. She forgot she had a sitting that day, and I got upset. “You promised you were going to take me out!” She felt bad so she picked me up from school and we got lunch and I went with her to George Condo’s house to have the painting done. I played with his kids. It was a pretty fun day, actually. George realized I was being very good and not disrupting the sitting, so he gave me a miniature cartoon painting. I still have it. It’s in my room.

WARHOL: Why do we all have to age?

PETER II: I think about this all the time. It’s really unfair, the difference between men and women in the aging process. When men age, they become more distinguished, while with women, they are considered less desirable as time goes on. I’ve got a lot of guy friends who plan on getting married, but not until their thirties or forties. And I bet in their thirties or forties, they’ll marry a woman in her twenties. It’s like some horrible cosmic joke played on women. But there is a benefit to aging. I don’t think anyone wants to be older physically, but I wish I could be older. Everyone my age says they wish they could be older. No one wants to be the age they are unless they are in their early twenties. I’m pretty sure being 25 would be very happy. I have a friend who put it quite well. She said, “I miss being the age when I thought that I would have my shit together at the age I am now.” [laughs]

WARHOL: What’s your favorite color?

PETER II: I really like mauve as a color; I think mauve is an interesting color. Historically it’s interesting because mauve was the first color created as a chemical dye 150 years ago. In the 1890s, everyone wore mauve because it was the first fabric dye from a chemical. It was a color that didn’t exist before 1850. It rose to popularity and then it became tacky because everyone had access to it. You still don’t see it a lot today. It’s not a color people use very much. It has a dusty look. I had part of my room painted mauve, then I put in a brownish gold and did the rest in blue. But there is some mauve embroidery in the rug. I just find it a fascinating color.

 

 

I’d love to play jay gatsby in The Great Gatsby. THe narrator is pretty good too, and so is daisy’s husband . . . Well, tom buchanan is almost a villain. I could play a villain well.—Peter Brant ii

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