Stella McCartney

Anne Philippi meets Richard Phillips

©Collage/Julia Zierer

We’re sitting in Pies ’n’ Thighs on Canal Street in New York and eating a donut, well, only I’m eating one (orange flavored), because Richard Phillips already had one, because he’s constantly here and has to protect himself from too many donuts at this café next to his gallery.

We met to talk about Richard’s car obsession. Again. We began when, at a racetrack in Austin, Texas, we got deep into a conversation about the fact that Patrick Dempsey is no longer a doctor on TV, now he’s a Porsche racecar driver. We didn’t finish the conversation this time at Pies ’n’ Thighs either, just as we will never finish. Because Phillips can’t find an end. A switch is flipped in Phillips and even if Phillips would like to leave the room, the switch ensures that Phillips will talk a little more about the Porsche 911.

Today, we at least make it to the theme of the wall, that is to say, the imaginary brick wall that Phillips ran into on his first Porsche ride with curator Neville Wakefield. A ride that, in some sense, brought him to life. From this brick wall moment on, Richard implicitly wanted to enter the world of Porsche and would no longer be satisfied with his existence in life as a passenger.

Our philosophy over the donut is as follows: We think that mankind is divided into two groups: drivers and those that are passengers and love to be passengers. “I’m a driver. I need the experiences of a driver, it’s not so much about the car, but I have to drive,” says Richard. Can you spend your life with a Porsche, almost married to it? Richard wants to spend his life with a Porsche and here in New York, no one criticizes that. “My Porsche meets a lot of love here.” Even if the level of exhaust in New York is just as high as on the racetrack.

However, on this afternoon, the city won’t allow us to continue circling around the whole profound philosophy of cars. I have to leave hours early to drive to the airport, because the traffic is murder, and Richard has to race in the other direction. Do we take over cars or do cars take over lives? Is it possible and is that what you want? Once again, a Phillips topic. 

Portrait Anne Philippi

Anne Philippi contributed to the Berlin pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Vogue and the German issue of Vanity Fair until 2009. She moved to Los Angeles, with a focus on interviewing Hollywood personalities. Today she partly lives in Berlin and published a book called “Giraffen”, a story that deals with the consequences of a so called existence of glamour.