Mess Magazine: We here at Mess can’t get over your designs, we love them. So creative and unique, what was your inspiration behind them?
Julien Fournié: Thanks for your enthusiasm. « Creative and unique » are very important words for Haute Couture, my consistent goal. Inspiration comes when you work. it is hard to explain how…. It’s a strange mixture between what I am feeling should be pertinent to express for today, trips I make around the world and in my imagination, meetings with various persons who are inspiring. For the collection to be shown on the runway at the end of January, I had in mind the desert for a setting, with figures of great women who have explored the world like Alexandrine Tinné in the 19th century. Actually their story fascinated me more than their aesthetics. Exploring regions where no European woman had set foot before, they were exploring also their own freedom, autonomy, as well as discovering new cultures… What were they bringing back with them in terms of vision, of elegance, of voluptuousness? This is what I have tried to imagine and interpret in a personal vision directed to the future. In other terms, how could I interpret the best ethnic craftsmanship inspirations in the expression of Haute Couture, the utmost luxury in fashion design? I have tried to get away from the past with innovative materials silhouettes and techniques…
Mess: And what the behind story to your inspiration? How do your personally get there?
Fournié: After a few years as a fashion designer, I am realizing that no matter what theme inspires me, some features come back like obsessions, particularly in the architecture of garments. This season the accessories, particularly long and opulent necklaces are very present for instance but the style of clothes is becoming more essentialized. It takes confidence in what you are doing to dare this. I realize now that time is your best friend to achieve this.
Mess: Why did you change from studying medicine to study fashion?
Fournié: I was fascinated with anatomy and, particularly with anatomical sketches. Knowing the body and all its muscles has helped me a lot in architecturing garments. So I just moved from sketching bodies to sketching what could best cover the female body: dresses. Instead of becoming a surgeon I have used fabrics in which I am using what I call « anatomical inlays » for the pieces I design. But the question is not “How?” but « Why? » …. When you are a student, you investigate a way and it helps you to become yourself. Becoming oneself is a good goal when you want to choose a career. It can even become the good goal for your life, don’t you think?
Mess: What experience did you gain while working with Nina Ricci, Christian Dior, Jean Mouclier and Givenchy?
Fournié: Experience in the atelier at Nina Ricci, discovering with much affection what it was to work with a real haute Couture atelier (Nina Ricci was creating haute Couture at that time). The art of the seamstresses i-consists in a number of secrets shared only in this field and enhanced by the passion they are putting in their work every day. At Christian Dior, I was working with Jean Mouclier on jewelry: He is now the Creative Director for watches at Cartier and has taught me then the specific techniques used to sketch jewelry… a very precious know how. It was fantastic to intern at Givenchy when Alexander McQueen was at the creative helm of the house. It showed me how imagination can be powerful, how dreams can come true on the runway. This is also where I met Nicolas Degennes, who is to this very day, the inventor of every product in the Givenchy make-up line. For one of Givenchy beauty campaigns, I designed a stetson hat in plexiglass. This gave confirmed my love for accessories.
Mess: What you favor more ready-to-wear or Haute Couture? And why?
Fournié: It’s hard to tell. I really enjoy both ready-to-wear and Haute Couture. Couture is a very precious research laboratory when you do fashion design. Creativity comes first in Couture. But ready-to-wear also has its fortes: working with a garment factory can be very inspiring in a complementary manner. I must admit that the industrial aspect of ready-to-wear has also brought something more straightforward in my Couture designs.