INTERVIEW | If Alexandre Vauthier is something of a David on the couture calendar (he was amongst the newly invited designers this season) then the Vauthier woman is emerging as a Goliath. The creative vision of this young couturier is to send intergalactic glamazonian women down the runway and the impact, that grew to a powerful crescendo over thirty looks, was intense. Think Sean Young in Bladerunner meets 1940s Hollywood glamour meets Studio54. It's all huge shoulderpads, dresses slashed from the floor to the thigh and plunged to the waistline. In other words, drama. Roisin Murphy and Kylie Minogue have worn his designs (Murphy even walked the runway for him in a past season) and when seen in that context Vauthier, the materials that he uses and the attitude of his silhouette makes the most sense. Chez Vauthier the models always seem taller, their maquillage photo-ready and their attitude? Pretty damn pleased that they're wearing his creations. Tonight the entire salon clapped the final look which was a bolstered, constructed shoulder-plate of Swarovski crystals placed over a nude evening gown that fell to the floor, sprinkled with more crystals. When the models took their final walk and Vauthier took his bow he was greeted like a rockstar by the audience, even he was visibly surprised. Directly after the show we went backstage to talk to the designer and hear him talk about this collection.
SH: Tell me, how do you feel?
AV: Relieved, a bit red maybe because it’s rather hot, but really
relieved and really happy about the positive critics I have received.
SH: Tell us about the ‘Vauthier’ woman.
AV: I don’t know, I think it’s the women who define it best, what they
see. You just said that the show moved you, and I think that’s
what makes me happy, when I see that women are moved by what I
do. It’s the best validation I could ask for.
SH: Tell me a bit about the materials you used.
AV: Well we really worked the materials; we worked with triple satin
textiles that we formed thermally on mousse. We started off with
this red you see, that was a small tribute to the sublime Valentino
collections of the past, and we went on to this ‘rouge baiser’, the
famous lipstick tube designed by Gruau, which is an ultra feminine
and sensual tool. So we started with that and we worked on the
variances of the color red and all the different aspects that we could
obtain with different treatments. We set-up particular materials,
fake ‘gazza’, which are a mixture of cellulose and silk, and triple satin,
double folds, just to capture the right aspect, to have the perfect lines
and optimum brightness.
SH: And what about neoprene?
AV: There is some of course, as I have always used it in my previous
collections, so there were two models made in neoprene, which was
real neoprene. But we worked on that with very 50s-type sleeves, to
divert the attention.
SH: Where is your ‘atelier’ in Paris?
AV: I’m in the 8th arrondissement, just behind the Avenue Georges
V. We’ve been here for 3 months so it’s very fresh, we finally have
offices so we’re super happy. My whole team is great.
SH: How many are you?
AV: We’re five, it’s a very small team but we try to work well.
SH: During this show you had some big models. How did you feel
seeing the ‘big girls’?
AV: Well you know, in my fourth show I already had Jacqu, Frida, etc.
I don’t know it’s just like that, it’s life, I think they like my work and it
makes me very happy.
SH: But for me, not even talking about the big models, the ‘Vauthier’
woman' has always been very clear, very strong.
AV: You know it’s not because you’re a top model that you’re
necessarily a ‘Vauthier woman'. You have to choose amongst the
models, because you have to have a real personality.
SH: Yes, yes...
AV: I’m not saying that top models don’t have personality, that’s not
at all what I mean… But they need to be physically present.
SH: I love the spirit, did you give them directions?
AV: Of course, you know I always work with Coco who is my castings
director, she knows me by heart, she knows the mimics, so the
casting unfolds very naturally, she always brings me beautiful girls.
SH: Okay last question, I heard that the capsule collection
that you did for ‘Les 3 Suisses’ was a big success?
AV: Yeah, it sold very well. I beat their sales records, they never
reached that number.
SH: Is it the first time a couture designer has done that?
AV: I don’t know but it’s good!
SH: I love it, thanks a lot Alexandre.
(translation by Bérénice Magistretti)