Frank Ocean Talks New Luxury Brand Homer In First Interview In 2 Years
Notoriously press-averse auteur Frank Ocean has given his first interview in two years, but he doesn’t even discuss music at all. Instead, he talks almost exclusively about Homer, his newly launched “independent American luxury brand” (and soon a storefront on NYC’s Lower East Side) whose first release is a collection of jewelry that ranges from a $435 pendant to a $1.9M necklace. “I didn’t want our work to be any less expensive than Cartier,” he tells the Financial Times.
“My mother was into jewellery, but in a low-key Princess Diana kind of way,” Ocean explains in the interview. “My godfather was into guns, but he was also into cars, and he bought luxury-lifestyle magazines, which I became obsessed with. They became a form of play for me as a child. It was the furthest thing from my actual life at the time, and I began plotting ideas and a life in that universe. I’d look at yachts and want one. But I don’t have one because I get super-seasick.”
Ocean was born Christopher “Lonny” Breaux in New Orleans, Louisiana. “It’s never lost on me that my surname is a by-product of slavery in the US,” he says of Breaux, a common name of enslaved African people brought by the French in 1718. “It’s never lost on me that I don’t have access to my real name. I can’t trace my heritage back that far, which is why I am interested in creating things that are mine, stay mine and belong to my family. Things that I can pass on.”
That idea of creating a lasting legacy, of leaving something behind, is central to Homer. Ocean chose the name Homer “mostly because it’s five letters and the dotcom was available,” he says. “But also because Homer is considered the father of history and history is meant to endure — the same as diamonds and gold — and I know Homer used papyrus, but I’ve always liked the idea of carving history into stone.”
Homer started in earnest in 2019 when Ocean invited 20 craftsmen friends to a “Summit” at a mostly empty house in Los Angeles. “We had everyone from horticulturalists to electrical engineers and architects, carpenters and metalworkers,” Ocean says. “We made tables and chairs, wired the lighting, then started working on other things for the house.”
Although Homer is focused largely on jewelry, Ocean still looks to furniture and architecture for inspiration. “I have a Pierre Paulin sofa at home, and it’s futuristic, but also natural,” he says. “Paulin started out as a sculptor who was interested in flowers. I think there’s something peaceful and high-tech about the natural world. There’s an interplay there that is interesting to me. I use green a lot, because it is the stem of a flower and all colour works with it. I like Brazilian modernism. Sergio Rodrigues’s furniture is beautiful, warm and inviting. It’s just… horny.”
“There are possibilities for black people now that weren’t always there for us,” Ocean concludes. “I grew up in poverty. I’m grateful to my mother because she tried to expose me to as much as she could so far as the bigger picture is concerned. I’m very fortunate to be someone who can make someone else feel like they have possibilities, and I think that will make art and fashion richer for it.”