Ahh, Miami. A place where ballers and true rockstars from all walks of life come for a little R&R while sipping on cocktails and puffing on Cuban cigars.

In Miami’s Design District, this larger-than-life ethos comes to full fruition as the neighborhood houses some of the luxury world’s MVPs. Amongst some of the notable names you’ll spot on storefronts along a stroll is CELINE. With the recent unveiling of the newly revamped, two-floor brick-and-mortar, the boutique is proving to be more than just that: it’s an experience much like Miami itself. Flashy as every mirrored and gold-gilded facet of the store is, unique as the “perfume organ” proves to be, and filled with art as the carefully curated selection of pieces scattered throughout the space showsit’s everything you would expect from the label.

Blake Richardson | Photography Alfonso Duran, Art Direction Cibelle Levi

And if there was ever a person who knew all too well about the luxe rockstar lifestyle, it’s certainly the brand’s Artistic Director Hedi Slimane—hence why Slimane brings the worlds of music and fashion together every so often for the French fashion house. And amid this creative convergence, the world gets to know some of the new indie faces soon to make their mark on the world. Enter Blake Richardson, the musician slash rising actor who has been a friend and ambassador of the house for quite some time now. As one-third of the band New Hope Club, Blake knows a bit about the musical energy that has been pumped into every facet of the brand and will discover the Hollywood aspect soon enoughas Richardson is set to star in the upcoming film, Midas Man, playing Sir Paul McCartney.

Blake Richardson | Photography Alfonso Duran, Art Direction Cibelle Levi

Below, VMAN caught up with Richardson at the Miami boutique as he endured the Floridian heat to chat about his style inspirations, music origins, and The Beatles, naturally.

VMAN: So, you’re with CELINE in Miami instead of being here in snowy New York—I’m jealous! 

Blake Richardson: (*laughs*) The new store is beautiful! I mean, I’ve just walked in and it’s incredible.

VM: Talk me through it a little bit ’cause I’ve seen only images so far. What’s the first thing that caught your eye in the store?

BR: I mean, it’s so bold when you walk in. There are all these beautiful mirrors and cool little art pieces around—you walk into this place like it’s an art gallery. I’ve been to a few CELINE stores in Seoul and different places around the world, but walking into this one [is different]. The whole thing is just beautiful.

VM: So talk to me a bit about some of the pieces that you’ve been spotting. Are you wearing full CELINE right now?

BR: Oh, I’m fully kitted out right now. I’ve got a nice white pinstripe suit with a black shirt on. It’s very Miami, actually.

Blake Richardson | Photography Alfonso Duran, Art Direction Cibelle Levi

VM: A little Miami Vice vibes, I love that.

BR: I love everything they do, to be honest. CELINE hits with everything—the jackets, the suits, the boots, everything. It’s so surreal to just walk in and be a part of this world. Quite a lot of pieces I had never seen as well, which is really cool.

VM: Do you remember when you first started working with CELINE?

BR: I went to my first CELINE show in Paris, It was nearly two years ago. Obviously, me and my band [New Hope Club], we do magazine features and photo shoots so we’ve been around high fashion but never really understood it and been in that world. It’s been a crazy journey to get to be a part of a campaign and a part of this amazing company. They’re just so heart-driven and passionate—I really draw to that, you know? They’ve really opened my eyes to a lot, as well. When I was on my own, picking out little pieces from vintage shops and stuff, [my style] was a bit all over the place and they’ve shown me how you can combine different style eras into one.

VM: So from shopping in vintage stores to putting on a fully-fledged white pin-striped suit in Miami, how would you define your style now?

Blake Richardson | Photography Alfonso Duran, Art Direction Cibelle Levi

BR: I always like to use the word timeless. I’ve always been very drawn to how suits used to fit back in the day, even in the ‘20s and ‘30s. I’ve always been a big fan of The Beatles and bands like that and I like seeing how fashion evolved through music. My journey in fashion has definitely grown, having worked with the brand and going out of my comfort zone a little bit. There’s been a few pieces that I wouldn’t usually touch, and now I put on a tight pair of jeans, a cool boot, and a leather jacket, and I’m like ‘this is a rockstar’ (*laughs*)

VM: I feel you. So in your wardrobe right now, would you say that those rockstar-feeling pieces are now your essential items when you think about what to wear day to day?

BR: Oh, I don’t know. I like to save the leather looks for a night out. Day to day I’m more of a layers man, I like lots of jumpers and wide jeans. I grew up in England, so it was pretty cold over there, so that is kind of a big part of the style. And then moving to LA, I had to remove quite a few of the layers, which was, you know…it was okay. (*laughs*) I got over that. But I like simple, casual—it works for a meeting going out for a coffee, or being with the band. You kind of have to find that balance to know what’s gonna work throughout the day.

VM: When did you and the band first come together?

BR: I met my first band member George in 2014 and clicked immediately. Then after a few rehearsals with some other guys, we found Reece and everything fell into place. We became official in 2015.

VM: I checked out a few of the tracks that were dropped last year and saw a teaser for a song on your Instagram called “Butterfly”—could you tell us what’s going on for the band in 2024? Will there be any further music releases, an album, maybe a tour?

BR: The past six months for the band have been quite [pivotal] for us. We knew we needed to have a little change and obviously being in a band for about eight years, we’ve all grown a lot as humans. From teenage life to becoming an adult, getting into relationships, and all of that stuff, you grow as an artist. We wanted a different direction in the music and honestly make it more personal and do the music we’ve always wanted to make. It’s been really exciting. I know that the boys and I are closer than ever and more driven than ever to make a stamp on what we’ve been trying to do and connect with people around the world in the way that we’ve always wanted to. There’s going to be new music coming early in the year. And then, yeah, definitely some tours and you name it, we’re probably gonna do it. I feel like this year we’re really up for it all.

VM: Aside from all the exciting developments on the music front, it makes me think back to last year when Hedi [Slimane] called us at V, wanting to shoot a few people and you ended up being one of six that we shot for our V142 issue. That was our first introduction to you and the band, and even discussed your role in the upcoming movie ‘Midas Man’. What can you say about your experience there?

Blake Richardson | Photography Alfonso Duran, Art Direction Cibelle Levi

BR: Firstly, I do want to say thank you for having me be a part of V. That was so cool for me, and to finally meet Hedi and work with him was so cool. You know, he’s an icon, he is a full-on legend in this world. And to just speak to him and be in his presence was just unbelievable. And for the film, we actually finished it in June of last year. It was quite a mission to get there, we did change directors at the start which set us back a year until this amazing director, Joe A. Stephenson, came on the project. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I mean, I grew up a huge fan of The Beatles, and to have the opportunity to be [Paul McCartney] in a film about Brian Epstein, the manager of the band who saw something special in them, he was the one who brought them to fame. It’s such a beautiful story to be a part of. A lot of these biopics, they’re about the artist, but it’s cool to be a part of something that shows the guy who’s doing all the hard work behind the scenes, but also not only that, everything Brian touched turned to gold except when it came to himself. Spreading the story of the life Brian led I hope can bring awareness and help people around the world. We finished it in June and I’ve been speaking to the director so I’m hoping to see it soon. I’m very, very excited and extremely nervous—it’s my first acting role ever. Also, playing an icon that everyone knows everything about…

VM: The pressure’s on! I can’t believe that your first role ever was diving into the world of Paul McCartney, that’s kind of crazy actually.

BR: It was one of those moments where the audition came through and I was like ‘Well, obviously I’m gonna go for this. I know this guy so well as a fan.’ I knew him from the outsider’s point of view and obviously, he’s such an inspiration to me. So to then get that role was awesome but also scary as this was my first time walking onto a set. I was going in blind, so hopefully it’s good.

Blake Richardson | Photography Alfonso Duran, Art Direction Cibelle Levi

VM: Oh, I think you’ll be good. You had the right passion going into something like that and have all these professionals around you. I think you were put in good hands to make sure you succeeded.

BR: Yeah, If not, I’m gonna blame it on the edit.

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