Oona Chanel Unravels What Drives The Classically Trained Designer’s Dedication To His Craft

It’s not hard to see why Alexandre Vauthier is a darling of the fashion industry, exclusive couture clients, and celebrities alike. His designs strike that perfect, almost unattainable balance of being both timeless and refreshing. The silhouettes are intentional but not forced; modern, nearly architectural, and staggering in their sharpness, while simultaneously maintaining a classic French allure. Couture is the genesis point, and even his ​prêt-à-porter collection draws directly upon it. Consequently, Vauthier’s work is embedded with a subtle empathy, and one cannot help but understand that he is fundamentally and critically attuned to modern, worldly women. In this extract from our extended interview, Oona and Alexandre discuss the forces that shape his enigmatic designs.

Oona: ​What does fashion mean to you?

Alexandre​- I prefer to speak of style, so it’s fair to say I can’t say what fashion means to me. What disturbs me about fashion is the short period of time that it represents. I prefer to think of my design house as a body of work that will still stay relevant throughout the years. I don’t try and make noise with my clothes. What I do is both sincere and carefully considered, which is why all the girls that I’ve been dressing from the beginning still come back to me quite frequently. My clients are from different cultural backgrounds, but they all gather here at my atelier. Fashion itself is not really important. What is important is how women look wearing these clothes. If my creations become ‘fashion’ after that, even better, but being in fashion is not the essence of the creation.

Oona: ​What about couture?

Alexandre – Couture is everything to me. It’s the beginning of creation, where there are no budgetary or technical limits. When everything is made by hand, it becomes an intense discussion between the creator and their craftwork, which results in the most beautiful creations in the world. Time is such a luxury for me, but when I have it, I’m able to create something unique. It’s the same way of thinking about jewelry, where time yields the best results. The great bene t of an obsession with couture is that my p​ rêt-à-porter collection can then bene t from all of that expertise. During these haute couture design trials, we try to expand the concept of luxury, and that then results in a superior quality that’s used in the p​ rêt-à-porter collection. For example, the embroidery that I’m working with for the couture collection is also used for the ​prêt-à-porter.

Oona: ​How important is it to feel inspired?

Alexandre​- Having inspiration is everything to me! You have to be inspired. Everything inspires me in life. The conversation we are having now will inspire me. I am someone that observes others a lot. I’m very precise and I consider the details. I love life and I’m afraid of not having enough time to learn everything. To be able to see everything, to know everything and at all levels. I’m inspired by the importance of human relations, and how different cultures and friendships interact. Within this, the concept of femininity is seen in many of my creations. Observing how women live and interact, their lives fascinate me, and I’m left inspired by their happiness. I draw my inspiration from all of the above.

Interview by OONA CHANEL