Take 10 talented independent designers based in Paris, the good will of Didier Grumbach – director of the reputed Fédération Française de la Couture – the support of the DEFI, the involvement of former Première Classe director Patricia Lerat, and last but not least, the spacious Atelier Richelieu as a fashionable playground and you'll turn out having the most promising designer showcase of the moment.
The newly founded concept showroom “Designers Apartment” holds some of Paris' most promising designers and is more than proud to sell its French charms to the international market. Didier Grumbach himself confirms that the varied profiles of his protégés makes this brand new venture even more interesting: “The chosen designers are not homogeneous. Some are reviving their brands like Gaspard Yurkievich, others recently have been discovered like Céline Méteil spotted at Hyères Festival”. This year's first edition is indeed showing Paris' multifaceted talents, as the choice fell on promising newcomers and reputed independents: Aganovich, Alexis Mabille Alice Lemoine, Barnabé Hardy, Céline Méteil, Christine Phung, Christophe Josse, Gaspard Yurkievich, Gustavo Lins, and Yiqing Yin will showcase their respective spring/summer 2013 collections from Thursday, September 27th until Wednesday, October 3rd 2012.
When asked about the meaning of “Designers Apartment,” young Haute-Couture designer Yinqing Yin feels comfortable with featuring her highly elaborated yet dreamy origami dresses at Atelier Richelieu, “Designers Apartment is like a local, intimate response to ever-growing, alienating showrooms. I'm glad to have the time and space here to present my collection the way I want to and to talk to clients”. Each selected designer has indeed his own avant-garde take on fashion, which seems quiet hard to exhibit on the mass-market – a fact that doesn't seem to scare off the organizers of Designers Apartment, who took up the challenge to not only give a voice to Paris' local talents, but also to play matchmakers between designers and industry.
Although the styles of designers varied greatly, the showroom comes with a certain family feeling - and not only because of the hanging black and white group picture of the ten participants that adorns the studio. It's their innovative collections and dreamy creative worlds that add some audaciousness to the Parisian ready-to-wear schedule.
From Alexis Mabille's sophisticated Lolita looks, Christophe Josse's meticulous and slinky cocktail dresses, Christine Phung's cubistic prints over to Gustavo Lins' abstract paintings on sleek silk gowns – the key style elements of each designer are represented at their best.
This said, an independent designer showroom would be deadly boring if there was no fresh blood to drink – this is precisely the moment when promising new faces such as Céline Méteil and Barnabé Hardy enter the game. The latter learned his skills at Karl Lagerfeld's and Jean Paul Gaultier's eponymous lines before teaching at the reputed fashion school of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, and now shares his love for men's leather apparel and jackets that he jazzes up with quirky lacings and embossings, as well as self-made graffiti-like prints.
On her side, Céline Méteil who won the Première Vision Price and Public Choice Award at the International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères and later on became deputy head designer at Galiano and Balenciaga, impressed with simple yet bold variations of classical shirt dresses, literally enveloping a woman's body in constructed sheer white creations, as she plays with boxy hips, strict folds, oversize bows, as well as with numerous lapel collar interpretations. “It's nice to be here and present my collection without any restricting regulations,” finds Méteil. We're quiet curious to see who the lucky ten will be next season.
- Elisabeta Tudor