In his role as group artistic director of Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter, Samuel McWilliams has created an aesthetic that is ingrained in the fashion world. We caught up with him to discuss what he’s been getting up to in self isolation.
The Tao of Wu by The RZA (left); Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (right)
Samuel — tell us, the best TV show/s you’ve recently binged.
I’m a big fan of Ozark. My iso-dreams came true when season three dropped a few days into lockdown. Jason Bateman is incredible, as is Julia Garner (who we just shot for the cover of PORTER magazine). Otherwise, it’s just a lot of documentaries such as Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez — which is just as intense.
What film would you highly recommend to watch while pretending to work?
Revisit all of Christoper Nolan’s Batman trilogy. All equally as good as each other. The Fifth Element helps to pass the times easily. Nothing too soppy.
What book has helped you get to sleep during the quiet nights of late?
The Tao of Wu, the second book by The RZA from Wu-Tang Clan and the sequel to The Wu-Tang Manual. A highly philosophical book from him that taps into eastern philosophies and how to apply them to your everyday life. It challenges your thoughts, which is something I wasn’t expecting.
Name your go-to comfort dish to ease the worst feeling of existential despair.
This is tough as I love to cook — and this extension of time at home has allowed me to really be able to cook more for the whole family. Fortunately, whilst every maniac is raiding the supermarkets for loo-roll and pasta, they’ve actually left all the fresh produce and all the local suppliers alone, which means we are actually eating better and fresher than ever.
My two go-to meals have got to be have got to be my sweet-chili glazed chicken thighs with vege on rice. Or a quick tuna, red-onion, jalapeno and mozarella toastie — the family love that. If ever short of ideas, just watch Jon Favreau and Roy Cho’s The Chef Show for ideas and great tips on cooking.
We all need new procrastination tools in these uncertain times, what exhilarating hobby have you recently added to your resume?
Once upon a time I completed Jo Wicks’ 90-day Body Coach Plan; which basically made me cut-out all the cakes, soft drinks and junk from my diet and hit the gym four to five days a week for three months… Since then, the dad-bod has slowly crept in, so I’ve tried to get back into shape as much as I can before the shoot schedule picks back up and I eat everything going on set.
Increased mindfulness is essential in this climate — name your top tips for getting out of your head.
Yeah this is super important. When this pandemic started, I started losing grip a little bit with thoughts of inevitable doom; this was all mainly down to the fact that I’ve recently become a father (our son is now five months) and so my first thoughts were for his and my fiancee’s protection. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to get away from London and realise that not everyone can do that — especially those who are key workers — but I’ve found it’s all about adjustment and, how we as humans, can try train our brain to adapt. Instead of keeping track of the daily updates from the media, I’ve been trying to focus on spending as much quality time with my son as possible. We’ll never get another opportunity like this again to just had time with our families, especially as I’m constantly at work in a ‘normal’ day.
What is your one tip for making working from home that little bit easier.
Routine. My son usually wakes us at 7am so there aren’t any opportunities to lie in. But it does mean I’m up and able to fit in a workout before my working day begins. Fill the day with time to take yourself away from the computer screen, put down your phone and switch off. Go and sit outside in the sun (if it’s sunny) or go for a walk.