© David Owens

Frieze London 2019

P(art)y picks: Grayson Perry chooses Frieze London's best dressed

The artist with a flair for fashion shows us the outfits that caught his eye at the fair’s VIP opening

In his current show at Victoria Miro, Grayson Perry targets art collectors, gently ribbing the privileged one per cent over their art-buying habits. So, we know what he thinks of their taste in art, but what does he make of their fashion choices? We wanted to find out, so we asked Perry to pick his top looks at the opening of Frieze London yesterday.

“It’s like the Olympic final of collecting: the runners are doing up their laces, getting ready to go and acquire that hot thing they hope will complete their collection,” he said as the doors opened and anxious collectors came streaming in. “The serious collectors are in running gear—so they get what they want.”

Perry was sporting a defiant “dad look” but with a “Frieze twist”, he said, which meant bright yellow Crocs, corduroys and a bespoke floral fleece. “You see women walking around in stilettos here and you think: you don’t collect art, do you? Or you collect very little.” But heels are getting rarer these days, he observed. “I think that’s great. For me, I’m a 59-year-old transvestite. I’m of an age when I can’t wear high heels anymore. If fashion goes in the direction where you can wear it with flats, I’m all for it.”

A few years ago, he decided to stop coming to Frieze as his alter-ego Claire because “he couldn’t move” for selfie hunters. Still, he is always “pro-effort”, he said. “I like ugly people who make loads of effort, I don’t want effortlessly beautiful people; I like to see artifice and craft.”

Bold colours are key and black is out of the question. Colour is a political matter for him, too: a way for the patriarchy to reinforce itself. “You look at a normal group of men and they’re all in black. It’s all about being invisible: they are the watchers, not the watched.”

The “hot trainer” is definitely the way to go these days, he noted, but “art-world black” is still holding out. Here’s his pick of those who brought some extra flair to the fair this year.

Grayson Perry: Super Rich Interior Decoration, Victoria Miro, London, until 20 December

Grayson Perry was sporting “defiant dad” with a “Frieze twist”
© David Owens

Grayson Perry does “defiant dad” with a “Frieze twist”.

The Tate director Maria Balshaw is “always one of the best-dressed people in the art world”, Perry said. She was wearing a vintage necklace, a skirt by Roksanda Ilinčić and a jacket by Whistles.
© David Owens

The Tate director Maria Balshaw is “always one of the best-dressed people in the art world”, Perry said. She was wearing a vintage necklace, a skirt by Roksanda Ilincic and a jacket by Whistles.

A Milan-based collector was wearing a dress she bought in Los Angeles. “I’ve had enough of black,” she said. Her bag was by Issey Miyake.
© David Owens

A Milan-based collector was wearing a dress she bought in Los Angeles. “I’ve had enough of black,” she said. Her bag was by Issey Miyake.

The Belgian collector Charles Kaisin was wearing a coat by Walter van Beirendonck, the head of the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: “Think you’re going to be hot, though,” Perry said. “You’re suffering for your art”.
© David Owens

The Belgian collector Charles Kaisin was wearing a coat by Walter van Beirendonck, the head of the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: “Think you’re going to be hot, though,” Perry said. “You’re suffering for your art”.

The Californian collector and artist Gilena Simons sported a tattoo that read “patroness of the arts”. “It’s a fabulous look,” said Perry. “I feel under-dressed now”.
© David Owens

The Californian collector and artist Gilena Simons sported a tattoo that read “patroness of the arts”. “It’s a fabulous look,” said Perry. “I feel under-dressed now”.

The collector Penny Govett was wearing a vintage Gaultier jumpsuit.
© David Owens

The collector Penny Govett was wearing a vintage Gaultier jumpsuit.

Tali Zeloof is a patron and the director of Quintessentially. She was wearing a skirt by Emilio Pucci and a necklace by Marni.
© David Owens

Tali Zeloof is a patron and the director of Quintessentially. She was wearing a skirt by Emilio Pucci and a necklace by Marni.

The Monaco-based collector Safia El Malqui was wearing a coat by Valentino, which made her feel “like a bird; but that’s ok”, she said.
© David Owens

The Monaco-based collector Safia El Malqui was wearing a coat by Valentino, which made her feel “like a bird; but that’s ok”, she said.

Kristin Olafsdottir, a documentary film-maker, was wearing a suit by Victoria Beckham. “That’s a good name to drop!” Perry said.
© David Owens

Kristin Olafsdottir, a documentary film-maker, was wearing a suit by Victoria Beckham. “That’s a good name to drop!” Perry said.

The collector Jacqueline Appel was wearing a Burberry coat “from quite a few years ago”. Perry said: “Isn’t it fantastic that it still looks great now?”
© David Owens

The collector Jacqueline Appel was wearing a Burberry coat “from quite a few years ago”. Perry said: “Isn’t it fantastic that it still looks great now?”