févr. 182016

The Gentlewoman n° 13, Spring Summer 2016.

The Show

On 19 October 1989, Martin Margiela staged a radical presentation for Spring / Summer 1990 that broke from the conventional 1980s fashion show and established a bold new aesthetic for a new decade. And did Margiela know how to put on a show! Although we may never know what the man thought about it himself — his legendary refusal to be interviewed prevents that — here the show’s architects, contributors and eyewitnesses tell the story of this singular moment in the annals of fashion history. Text by Richard O’Mahony, photography by Jean-Claude Coutausse.
The Speakers
Pierre Rougier, publicist
Jenny Meirens, co-founder, Maison Martin Margiela
Inge Grognard, make-up artist
Kristina de Coninck, model
Ward Stegerhoek, hairstylist
Frédéric Sanchez, music director
Roger Tredre, journalist
Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion designer
Geert Bruloot, retailer
Linda Loppa, professor
Raf Simons, fashion designer
Nathalie Dufour, founder, ANDAM fashion award
Suzy Menkes, fashion editor
Laurence Benaïm, fashion editor
The Build-up

Pierre Rougier, press agent, Maison Martin Margiela, 1989–1992: I’d just started out on my own in 1988, and I met Martin and Jenny when I was trying to get some people to sign with me. I met Jenny first, and she asked me to meet Martin. A few days later they called and said, “We really like you but we’re not going to need a press office. If you want a job, you can come and work with us.” So I did, and, I mean, it was a very small set-up. I think it was Martin, Jenny, maybe Nina Nitsche 1. Everybody was doing a little bit of everything.

Jenny Meirens, co-founder, Maison Martin Margiela: Only three of us! People had been helping when needed, but it was an extremely small company.

Pierre Rougier: After the Autumn / Winter 1989 show in March, Martin wanted a location for a magazine shoot. An actress friend of mine directed me towards this derelict area in Paris’s 20th arrondissement. She’d done a shoot there and thought it might work for ours.

Jenny Meirens: We usually looked for places that people wouldn’t have ordinarily used. Pierre asked me if we would be interested in this wasteland, and we thought, “Why not?”

Pierre Rougier: It was a North African neighbourhood on the outskirts of Paris. Martin, Jenny and I walked around the area; then they went off together to discuss things. They would always have these types of conversations in Flemish. I didn’t speak the language, so they’d go off and have their little powwow in Flemish.

Jenny Meirens: There was never anything secretive. We spoke Flemish because it was easier for us. To be honest, it was more for me — Martin wanted us to speak in French, but I thought that was ridiculous, because we’re from the same country.

Pierre Rougier: They came back and said, “We want to do a show here.” I thought it was crazy. They were like, “No, no, we’re going to do a show here,” and that was that. If Martin and Jenny wanted to do something, then it was going to happen one way or another.

1
Nina Nitsche was Martin Margiela’s design assistant for 19 years.
Jenny Meirens: The only thing Martin and I thought might be a problem was the weather. There was no protection.

Pierre Rougier: The other major issue was that it was a playground. It was pretty derelict, but an association that looked after the local kids used it. There were rules and regulations that didn’t allow them to accept money for use of the area. So Jenny and Martin had the idea that we’d take the kids on a day trip to the countryside, where various activities would be laid on for them. It was important to Martin and Jenny that we were respectful of the fact that this was the kids’ space and they were lending it to us for a few days.

Jenny Meirens: We wanted the children to stay around the area. Pierre suggested that we ask them to make the invitation.

“I always thought fashion was a bit superficial, but this show changed everything for me.” — Raf Simons
Pierre Rougier: Martin hated pretty printed invitations with calligraphy. Since we were staging the show on a kids’ playground, we thought it would be an idea to have the invitations drawn by kids, so it was like they were inviting you to their place. The next thing, then, was where do we find 500 kids to draw all these invitations? So we cut rectangular pieces of cardboard, gave them to the local schools, and in their art classes they were given the theme of a fashion show, and they drew their interpretations.

Jenny Meirens: The locals were very receptive and enthusiastic.

Pierre Rougier: And then we had to build the tents for backstage. That was another nightmare!

Jenny Meirens: I remember Pierre was very stressed, but Martin was always calm in preparing for a show. We were based on rue Réaumur in the 3rd then, and on one side of the studio all the outfits were being prepared, there were castings, people deciding on the make-up; and on the other side we were organising meetings with commercial clients.

Inge Grognard, make-up artist for Maison Martin Margiela, 1988–2010: I had known Martin since we were fashion-crazed teenagers growing up in Belgium and worked with him from the very beginning, so we had a well-established working pattern by this point. I was based in Antwerp. So a few weeks before a show Martin would phone and say, “OK, this is the collection,” and we’d talk about the ideas behind it, the feelings, the colours. And then I’d give my input. I’d also travel to Paris because I was involved in casting the models too.

Kristina de Coninck, model for Maison Martin Margiela, 1989–2005: Martin had seen some pictures I’d shot with the photographer Ronald Stoops and Inge for BAM magazine. Apparently, Martin said, “Who’s this woman? I want her for my show.” I met him in Brussels in ’89, and that March I walked in his second show, which was for Autumn / Winter. The fittings for the show were such an enjoyable experience. Martin always asked the models’ opinion on the clothes he selected for us — he wanted to make sure we felt good in them. For this show, he instructed us not to cut our hair.

Ward Stegerhoek, hairstylist for Maison Martin Margiela, 1988–1989: Hair in the late 1980s was very proper: chignons; big, bouncy curls and waves — that sort of Claudia Schiffer look. Martin said for this show it should look like anything but a hairstyle. He never really told us what he wanted, just what he didn’t want. He liked it when it looked as if the women could have put it together themselves.

Frédéric Sanchez, music director for Maison Martin Margiela, 1988–1998: This was my third show for Martin Margiela. Martin and I started work on it about two months beforehand. We’d talk about the live recordings of bands like the Velvet Underground or the Rolling Stones from the ’60s — the crowd’s screaming in the background, and the music’s cutting in and out. We were also listening to experimental artists like Meredith Monk and Annette Peacock and obscure tracks from Factory Records. Martin was very into Bowie, too — I think the video for “Life on Mars” was a big influence on the make-up for this show. The idea was to cut all the tracks short abruptly, chop them up the way Warhol cut his movies, mess with the levels to make them sound distorted or dirty, then put it all together like a collage. It was about evoking a feeling to create something poetic. When I was told the show’s location, I just thought it was very Martin. We did the first one in an old theatre, the second in a nightclub, so it was continuing this idea of using public spaces and the most lively parts of the city to present a bourgeois thing like fashion.

The Buzz

Roger Tredre, fashion correspondent, The Independent, 1989–1993: The Spring / Summer 1990 season was actually my first experience of fashion shows. I’d been sent to cover the collections because Sarah Mower, the fashion editor of The Independent at the time, was pregnant. Before that, I’d been working in Brussels on an English-language publication called The Bulletin, so I was very much aware of the Antwerp Six 2 fashion phenomenon. I think I did one of the first interviews with two of them, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee. There was confusion that Margiela was one of the six, which he wasn’t — he’d actually graduated a few years before them and had been working for a Belgian coat manufacturer, Bartsons, then worked in Italy, and then with Jean Paul Gaultier. As the Antwerp Six’s profile grew through the Golden Spindle 3 awards and following their presentation at Olympia during London Fashion Week in 1986, there was talk about this other guy who’d studied at the Royal Academy, who worked for Gaultier, and who was just as good as, if not better than the Antwerp Six.

2
The group of fashion students who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1980 and 1981 (Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries Van Noten and Walter Van Beirendonck) was allegedly given the title by the British fashion press, who were unable to pronounce their names correctly.
3
Belgium’s once-thriving textile industry was foundering by the 1980s. Its government created the Golden Spindle prize in 1982 to promote new Belgian designers and textile manufacturers as part of a wider regeneration initiative
Pierre Rougier: This was the height of Jean Paul Gaultier’s fame, and M. Gaultier was very supportive of Martin and very vocal about how he considered him to be the best designer of his generation. A lot of the interest from journalists and fashion editors came because of Gaultier’s support.

Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion designer: He was my best assistant. When after a few years he wanted to leave and start his own collection, I could only be happy for him and wish him good luck. From Martin’s first show I saw immediately that he had his own voice and his own way.

Geert Bruloot, co-owner of Louis and Coccodrillo stores, Antwerp: We were one of the first boutiques to stock Martin Margiela. I think Linda Loppa was stocking him, too. Initially, it was just a shoe line. Martin came into Coccodrillo — the shoe store my partner, Eddy Michiels, and I opened in 1984 — a few months after we opened and presented his collection. Mainly shoes for women, and a lady’s shoe based on a bishop shoe.

Linda Loppa, owner of Loppa boutique, Antwerp, 1978–1991; head of fashion, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, 1981–2006: It was like a traditional man’s shoe, but made on feminine lasts. The heel looked chunky when viewed from the side but narrow from the back. The insole was higher. That’s what made you taller. Already some of the classic Margiela tropes were there. They sold well.

Geert Bruloot: He stopped the line when he went to work for Gaultier. But we stayed in touch. Fashion then was bold colours, wide shoulders; everything was extravagant, very stylised — Montana, Mugler, Lacroix, Versace. Martin came along with ripped sleeves, frayed hems, clumpy shoes — we were still talking about stilettos! After seeing Martin’s first show in 1988 I didn’t know what to think. We watched it open-mouthed. It was like I had to erase what I thought and knew about fashion. There were production problems so the first collection was never made, and it wasn’t until the second collection that we actually had clothes to sell. They didn’t do very well at the beginning. But when it did start selling, it sold really well.

Raf Simons, fashion designer: There was so much buzz about Antwerp then. I was in my fourth year studying industrial design in Genk and had to go on work placement — I knew immediately that I wanted to do it in Antwerp. I ended up interning with Walter Van Beirendonck. It was such a fascinating period in Belgium. There were so many things going on — the Antwerp Six; Belgian New Beat 4 was taking off and bringing a new sound and dress code with it; and then there was Margiela. From the moment he did his first show in Paris, he was the one. Everyone was obsessed with Martin.

Nathalie Dufour, founder, ANDAM fashion prize: Martin Margiela was awarded the inaugural ANDAM prize in June 1989. I’d seen his first two shows in Paris and then invited him to present to our committee, which included Pierre Bergé. I remember Martin telling me that the recognition of M. Bergé, and his link with Yves Saint Laurent, was very important to him — Martin loved the work of Yves Saint Laurent. He had to provide a description of his next collection, how his company was organised, a press file and such. At that time the prize money wasn’t very much but it would go towards the production of the next collection and show. We weren’t entirely sure it would work, but we felt something was happening and didn’t want to miss it.

4
New Beat originated in Belgium during the late 1980s. Characterised by a sludgy, heavy dance sound pitched at 115bpm, it also incorporated elements of Chicago house music. Clubs such as Ancienne Belgique in Brussels and Boccaccio in Ghent were at the centre of the New Beat scene.
Pierre Rougier: There were a few influential people who got what Martin was doing and were incredibly supportive. Melka Tréanton from Elle — the grande dame of French fashion, who helped to make the careers of Mugler, Montana and Gaultier — she loved Martin. i-D and The Face in London were also supportive; Annie Flanders and Ronnie Cooke at Details in New York too. It was so different from everything else going on at that time, and people were trying to put a name to it.

Suzy Menkes, fashion editor, International Herald Tribune, 1988–2014: With half those Belgian designers it was a struggle just to find out how to spell their names! It was the end of the great explosion of extravagance of the 1980s when couture shows had become incredibly elaborate. The Belgian designers, along with the Japanese — Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto — were very much counterculture to the big Paris houses.

The Day

Pierre Rougier: We finally made it to the day of the show. It was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we’re making it happen!” But, of course, we didn’t have enough power, and we had to go around the neighbourhood knocking on doors asking to run cables and cords from the locals’ houses so that we could plug in the hairdryers, lighting and all that. It was fucking crazy, though it didn’t seem so at the time.

Inge Grognard: I had a small team of assistants. It’s not like now, where there’s 20 or 30. I didn’t have a big make-up room, just little places where we could put one or two assistants in with two models. There were so many models! And the spaces were really dark. It was chaotic.

Jenny Meirens: Backstage really was a mess. The children had been hanging out there all day, eating the food. But it was a very cheery and relaxed atmosphere.

Ward Stegerhoek: We did try to keep them out at first. In the end, we just gave up. The backstage area was this concrete, dusty space, which was a little cold, so we had some heaters in there. And a few plastic fold-up tables and some cheap chairs. We had music like Alice Bag playing quite loud to get everyone in this punky mood. There was a little red wine too.

Inge Grognard: I’d been thinking about when you have those little accidents when doing make-up, like when you pull a sweater over your head and it smears mascara across your eyelids. We put everything on a contrasting white base. The clothes had a lot of white and plastic involved, so we mixed in some roughness with the mascara. We liked it when it wasn’t totally perfect or finished.

Ward Stegerhoek: We used lots of hairspray to get the hair all matted and stiff, then started pinning it up and ended up with this rough texture.

Kristina de Coninck: Martin took one look at my wig — they used hairpieces on the models with shorter hair — and said, “It’s not wild enough.” So he took the hairpiece and ran it along the dusty ground.

Ward Stegerhoek: Martin was quite hands-on before the show, pulling at the straps on the clothes, adjusting the shoulder, fixing the hair before they went on the runway.

The Hour

Pierre Rougier: The idea that staging a show so far out of town might be an inconvenience never entered our minds.

Roger Tredre: I knew Paris well, and the location looked like a typical Paris street with terraced houses but with this space that looked like it might have been bombed in the war. The whole place was floodlit, with lots of people milling around.

Linda Loppa: There was a group of us from Antwerp — boutique owners, fashion students from the academy. We were like Margiela groupies! I should set the record straight, though: Martin was never a student of mine. But we did know each other from the Antwerp scene. Mary Prijot 5 was the head of the academy when he attended. Anyway, we weren’t surprised by the neighbourhood. Us Belgians were quite used to the rougher lifestyle — Antwerp wasn’t so luxurious and elegant then. I mean, sometimes the Royal Academy didn’t even have electricity. When we arrived in the 20th there was a bit of confusion about the precise venue — I’m not sure I even had an invitation. Of course, later on Martin’s invitations became highly collectible. So we just followed the other Belgians we recognised from their clothes — “Follow that one in black; that must be the way!” There was a cafe on the corner of a street nearby, and we gathered there drinking, talking. It was like a party.

5
Mary Prijot established the prestigious fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1963. Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela all studied under her tutelage.
Pierre Rougier: We never anticipated that all these people would turn up. Martin never let us hector people into coming. The attitude was, you can turn up, but if you don’t, that’s fine too. We were totally unprepared for the number that did.

Geert Bruloot: The narrow streets were filled with African people, Indian people, children, fashion editors, press and buyers. Martin and Jenny invited people from the neighbourhood too. They were a big part of the event.

Roger Tredre: There was no sense of trepidation. Maybe for someone like Suzy, chauffeur-driven, it was a bit strange. I recall being struck by the incongruity of these ladies in fur coats stepping over rough ground and slumming it a bit. It was quite amusing.

Suzy Menkes: I’m pretty certain I was taking the Métro in those days. I didn’t think we were going to the ends of the earth for this show, or that anything unpleasant might happen to us out in the 20th. Absolutely not.

Roger Tredre: It wasn’t clear where we were supposed to sit — were there even seats? Where were the models coming from? There were some children around, and locals began gathering to see what was happening.

The Scrum

Pierre Rougier: There was no seating plan. It was first come, first served. This was always the case; there was never a guest list like at other shows. But as all these people kept showing up, it became overwhelming.

Jenny Meirens: People were pushing and shouting that they weren’t being treated particularly well, didn’t have a seat… blah, blah. It was terrible. We didn’t have the budget for VIP treatment.

Geert Bruloot: Jenny was almost standing on the wall, shouting and directing people. It was quite hysterical.

Pierre Rougier: People were scaling the walls of the site to get in!

Raf Simons: I ended up gatecrashing with Walter Van Beirendonck, who was holding a presentation in Paris. Martin’s was the first fashion show I ever attended. I had the perception of them as big productions and quite glamorous — here, there wasn’t even a floor! It was like a trashy backyard.

Pierre Rougier: By the time the show started, we didn’t know who was an editor or who was a neighbour. We were like, “Let all the kids sit down!” and they did so along the runway, otherwise they wouldn’t have seen anything. They were so excited, screeching and laughing.

Roger Tredre: And then at some point the show just started.

17 Minutes

Frédéric Sanchez: There was a drumbeat on a loop from a live recording of the Buzzcocks that sounded very raw. I also had this recording of people playing music on the streets of different cities around the world — a tramp using some boxes as percussion and singing “Strangers in the Night”. I think “Roadrunner” by the Sex Pistols was in there too. There were concerns about rain in the lead-up to the show, so I used this moment from Woodstock where the audience are chanting, “No rain! No rain!” There were probably 20 tracks used on the soundtrack, cut, repeated — using 10 seconds of one, 20 of another, mashed up together.

Raf Simons: As soon as the models started to come out, you knew something special was going to happen. They looked so angelic and alien.

Roger Tredre: They didn’t move like regular models. They stumbled because they were picking their way across uneven ground.

Ward Stegerhoek: Martin didn’t want the models to walk like professional ones, with their hips swaying and all that, and he’d spend quite some time with the professional ones before a show, instructing them. He wanted them to walk more like boys.

Kristina de Coninck: Martin just wanted us to be ourselves.

Geert Bruloot: There was a lot of black and white around the eyes, and these dark lips. The clothes were a continuation of the ideas expressed in the previous two seasons — the elongated sleeves; the narrow, rolled piqué shoulders; wide, tailored trousers; frayed and unfinished seams and hems. They even reused the exact same Tabi boots 6 that had been used in the Autumn / Winter 1989 show. But then there was this burst of volume from the waist, with canvas coats and skirts belted around it, worn over wide canvas trousers, and large canvas bags worn like panniers. It had a bit of a Victorian look to it.

6
The Tabi boot is Margiela’s interpretation of the split Japanese tabi sock, which separates the big toe from the others and is worn with traditional thonged footwear.
Linda Loppa: The colours were mostly white and nude and looked so fresh in the midst of the graffitied and dilapidated surroundings. Tops were made from Franprix 7 plastic carrier bags — you know the French supermarket? I thought, Why a carrier bag? There were tops made from papier mâché, with metal breastplates… some models had bare breasts.

7
Franprix is a French grocery chain founded in 1958 by Jean Baud. It has 860 outlets throughout the country.
Kristina de Coninck: I was wearing a little white cotton vest top, a wide skirt, and underneath were large canvas saddlebags on either hip to create a hoop skirt. Each of the models wore the number 90 in some way — either sewn on to a piece of paper, stitched into the garment, drawn with a marker on the heel of a boot…

Suzy Menkes: It was a strange kind of bleak fairyland. The light cast an iridescent sheen on these plastic covers, and yet at the same time they were so banal — dry-cleaning bags.

Linda Loppa: The dry-cleaning bags were transformed into tailored coats, jackets, tunics and dresses, belted with ribbons, straps and metal fasteners. These were worn on top of oversized sheer slips with elegant drapery and pleating that looked quite disordered from a distance. But up close they were sublime. We loved it! I immediately bought one of those long canvas skirts.

“We always wanted to be free, to be spontaneous, and not respond to the impositions of the fashion world.” — Jenny Meirens
Suzy Menkes: The dresses were actually surprisingly pretty. They were very floaty, semi-sheer, chiffon, worn like a milkmaid’s but with no frills. They almost floated like a cloud on the body.

Jenny Meirens: There was never just one inspiration or precise idea in a Margiela collection. Martin would pull many different things together. Sometimes they would repeat over the different seasons.

Kristina de Coninck: The children couldn’t sit still. They were fascinated by what was happening. We would smile down at them as we walked by; they’d smile back. We were all laughing. And then at some point they joined in and paraded alongside the models.

Frédéric Sanchez: The music for the finale switched to classical music, harpsichord pieces by Rameau and Purcell.

Geert Bruloot: All the models and the backstage staff came out for the finale wearing the now-iconic blousons blanche atelier coats 8. The models had confetti in their pockets and threw it into the air.

8
The blouson blanche is a white work coat worn by the petites mains in the ateliers of haute couture houses. Margiela adopted it as a uniform for the company’s employees.
Jenny Meirens: One of the models’ boyfriends began to lift some of the children onto the models’ shoulders.

Raf Simons: I was so struck by everything I was seeing that I started to cry. I felt so embarrassed. I was like, Oh God, look at the ground, look at the ground, everyone’s going to see you’re crying — like, How stupid to be crying at a fashion show. Then I looked around, and half the audience was crying.

Geert Bruloot: It was all over in 17 minutes. We went backstage to see Martin and Jenny afterwards. It was in the days when Martin still stayed around after the show.

Pierre Rougier: Oh my God, it was such a happy, happy night. There was a huge sense of relief that we pulled it off. Martin was very happy.

Jenny Meirens: We felt very happy afterwards, enjoying the moment, drinking champagne from plastic cups.

Roger Tredre: I remember at the end thinking, This will be great copy!

The Reviews

Jenny Meirens: We were shocked that the press wasn’t very positive.

Pierre Rougier: Le Monde printed a scathing review.

Laurence Benaïm, fashion critic, Le Monde, 1986–2001: I thought it was like a parody of Comme des Garçons in the early 1980s. A little bit too postural. I don’t expect a fashion designer to give me a lesson about what life is or what it should be. The clothes were perfectly cut but I didn’t like the miserablist scenography. And I still hate drinking bad wine from cheap glasses!

Pierre Rougier: Libération was critical of how inappropriate it was to show designer fashion in a poor part of the city, saying it was exploitation of the neighbourhood and its residents. I read the article and thought, “Really? Is that what you got out of that show?”

Geert Bruloot: I think the industry loved it. We bought some pieces from it for Louis — the oversized slips with the plastic overlay, the canvas hip bags. For sure we bought the plastic hoods, as I still have one in my personal archive.

Roger Tredre: We trotted out of the 20th and felt we’d seen something that was special in ways we couldn’t immediately define. That a young designer staged his show in such an unusual location and a lot of high-powered fashion editors actually turned up made this show unique.

Suzy Menkes: I was definitely fascinated and intrigued, and I certainly thought it was something new.

Roger Tredre: Whether the choice of venue had anything to do with reflecting the disintegration of the Berlin Wall 9, as some publications alluded to, I’m not sure. But the timing…

9
Radical political change in East Germany in 1989 led to the removal of the blockade of West Germany on 9 November 1989. The wall’s official demolition didn’t begin until the summer of 1990 and wasn’t completed until 1992.
Jenny Meirens: Oh, no, no, no. That wasn’t in our minds at all. Honestly, I think that people perceive it differently than we meant it. It’s less heavy than people think.

The photojournalist Jean-Claude Coutausse shot these images for Libération, the French daily newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge July. The accompanying article, headlined “La mode il y a des endroits pour ça”, was highly critical of the show.

The Legacy

Pierre Rougier: Well, it definitely ignited the cult of Margiela. The subsequent shows were just as weird, complicated and stressful to pull off. The sense that we had to outdo the last show with the next was never discussed. I’m sure Martin probably felt it, but he never said if he did.

Jean Paul Gaultier: I think that his way of staging shows and keeping out of the public eye was a reaction to what he’d seen while working for me. I was part of the first generation of designers to be mediatised, and I think that Martin wanted the exact opposite.

Roger Tredre: Right from the beginning, his approach to fashion was in line with the very pressing issue of sustainability, the need to recycle and the urgency of rethinking the whole system. Where to do that? Anywhere but the heart of the system.

Suzy Menkes: He was the beginning of making over clothes, of using existing garments and transforming them into something else. He was very far ahead of this trend.

Linda Loppa: It also showed that you could create a beautiful collection and put on a spectacular show with very little money. You can make garments that are elegant but rough and instinctive. You can have your friends around you to help and support. Interesting models can be found on the street. A simple statement of intent: “Come on! Do it!”

Raf Simons: As a student I always thought that fashion was a bit superficial, all glitz and glamour, but this show changed everything for me. I walked out of it and I thought, That’s what I’m going to do. That show is the reason I became a fashion designer.

Jenny Meirens: We always wanted to be free, to be able to do what we wanted, to be spontaneous, to not respond to the impositions of the fashion world. We wanted to make a simple show, but for us this one was no more important than any other.

févr. 022016

The Business of Fashion – 1er février 2016

Severity and Lushness
No longer couture’s best-kept secret, Bouchra Jarrar is still flying too far under the radar.

By Tim Blanks.

PARIS, France — Bouchra Jarrar compared her show to creating a world, with everything counting in equal amounts to make the mood. The soundtrack, for instance, Jarrar herself reading Marcel Proust over a sound tapestry by Frederic Sanchez that throbbed with the bass line from Bowie’s Subterraneans and hints of Prince. “Just as important as the collection,” the designer insisted. It certainly offered striking amplification.
Maybe there was something of Prince in a little gold waistcoat over a lace jabot, or the gold-buttoned, gold-braided drummer boy jacket (like Manet’s famous Fifer). Perhaps the Purple One even contributed a little to the ambisextrous nature of the collection. But Jarrar has always walked a tantalising razor’s edge between severity and lushness. You could read that as masculine and feminine if you so desired. This was her most glamorous expression of the duality to date. The tailoring was as acute as ever, but the textures were amped all the way up, with the dull glimmer of gold jacquardwrapped in shaggiest badger, coyote and curly lamb and a redingote shaped from a mass of feathers.
There was a mutter of paganism in the couture shows, with Schiaparelli’s harvest maidens and Valentino’s high priestesses. Jarrar’s take was intriguing, matching the shaggy wantonness to the precision of Napoleonic peacoats, jackets and gold-piped navy trousers. Duality again. It was more disciplined but just as convincing in an oversized coat in silver-shot houndstooth paired with an elegant column of creamy silk velvet. Now that was Proustian, truly the stuff of memories.

Libération – 26 Janvier 2016

Sons sur Mesure
Par Sabrina Champenois

La créatrice Bouchra Jarrar présente ce mardi sa nouvelle collection, sur une musique conçue par Frédéric Sanchez. Le duo décrypte une collaboration fondée sur la complicité.

Bouchra Jarrar et Frédéric Sanchez travaillent ensemble depuis cinq ans. Elle, roseau perfectionniste à la précision du geste et la sobriété notoires, tient depuis 2010 les rênes de sa propre maison de couture, après avoir travaillé auprès de Nicolas Ghesquière chez Balanciaga, puis chez Christian Lacroix. Elle présente sa collection haute couture printemps-été ce mardi à Paris. Lui, grand calme à rire homérique, est entré en piste en 1988, par un coup d’essai-coup de maître : la bande-son du premier défilé de Martin Margiela. Autodidacte passionné par la musique depuis l’enfance, il fait désormais partie du club très sélect des «designers de sons» de référence, ceux dont le travail contribue à l’intention d’un créateur plus qu’il ne l’illustre, et participe à son écho. A son actif, entre autres, des collaborations avec Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Jean Paul Gaultier, Martine Sitbon, Helmut Lang…

Ce jour de début janvier où on les rencontre, Bouchra Jarrar est en pull anthracite sur pantalon et mocassins noirs. Frédéric Sanchez, en col roulé noir sur pantalon gris et bottines noires. Cette harmonie symétrique résulte-t-elle d’une consultation ? On opte plutôt pour l’heureuse coïncidence, leur communauté d’esprit étant telle que leurs enveloppes suivent.

Désolée pour ce retard, il y avait ce «colis suspect», dans le métro… Suivez-vous l’actualité ?
Frédéric Sanchez : Ça fait partie des choses dont on parle, avec Bouchra. Notre conversation se nourrit de tout, en continu.

Bouchra Jarrar : Absolument. On écoute tous les deux beaucoup la radio, on se reconnaît dans des choses, ça alimente cet échange. Par exemple, au moment des attentats de novembre, j’ai personnellement eu beaucoup de mal à revenir à la création de vêtements, je ne me suis jamais sentie aussi petite, tant le problème de l’humanité et des civilisations est au cœur de ce qu’on est. Maintenant, ça va, j’ai retrouvé la conviction que réfléchir, créer de la beauté, est nécessaire, aujourd’hui plus que jamais. C’est comme si les choses prenaient encore plus de sens. Et la création, c’est une réelle échappatoire, une respiration.

F.S. : Dans le même temps, notre travail fonctionne en interaction avec l’extérieur.

Le contexte actuel, tendu, peut-il s’avérer paradoxalement stimulant ?
B.J. : Quelque part, oui. Ça fait avancer ce que l’on fait et ce que l’on est.

F.S. : Oui, on est un peu des combattants ! Moi, par exemple, ça ne me fait pas peur, ce qui se passe actuellement, je ne vais pas partir sur une île déserte… Au contraire, même. Là, ça fait plusieurs années que je vis entre Paris et la Normandie, et j’ai presque envie de revenir complètement à Paris, parce que j’ai envie de faire beaucoup de choses ici. Tout d’un coup, je me rends compte qu’il ne faut pas lâcher. Il ne s’agit pas de militer mais de participer, de ne pas être dans une bulle, d’être conscient.

BJ. : Etre conscient qu’on est des faiseurs, des fabricants. C’est ce que disait l’autre jour à la radio Raphaël Glucksmann, à propos du projet de loi sur la déchéance de la nationalité : «Avec une telle loi, on toucherait profondément à ce que l’on est. Il ne faut pas. Il faut faire.»

F.S. : Sachant que Bouchra et moi sommes des enfants d’immigrés, à des époques et pour des motifs différents.

La mode fait partie de la frivolité dénoncée par les extrémistes religieux…
B.J. : En vue des prochains défilés, la Fédération [de la couture du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode, ndlr] a envoyé des mails qui stipulaient la nécessité d’avoir des vigiles à l’entrée des défilés. On va bien sûr le faire.

F.S. : Comme c’est le cas pour les spectacles. Depuis le 13 Novembre, il faut vivre avec ça, sans pour autant se terrer chez soi. Ce qui m’inquiète plus, c’est ce que ce climat pourrait nous mener à faire, se censurer notamment.

Votre échange est très fluide, l’un poursuit la phrase de l’autre…
F.S. : C’est une histoire qui a commencé il y a cinq ans. Bouchra a voulu me rencontrer, et ce jour-là, je crois qu’elle a prononcé le mot «révolution». Ça a fait tilt, j’ai pensé à la chanson de Brigitte Fontaine, où elle ne cesse de le dire, où elle dit des slogans de Mai 68 sur de la musique classique.

B.J. : C’était à la fois sérieux et amusant, on a commencé à se raconter des histoires, à se connaître. Avec Frédéric, j’ai le sentiment de ne jamais être dans l’effort.

F.S. : Le travail avec Bouchra prolonge celui que je fais avec d’autres gens. Je ne travaille d’ailleurs pas avec des marques, mes dialogues sont toujours très personnels : je procède avec un créateur de mode comme je le ferais avec un metteur en scène ou un autre artiste. C’est à chaque fois une discussion pérenne, qui dure. Avec Bouchra, on a commencé par Brigitte Fontaine, on a enchaîné avec Christophe, Holy Motors de Leos Carax, ça a été nos bases. A partir de là, on est partis dans quelque chose d’extrêmement personnel, on a commencé par mélanger des choses, Iggy Pop, Barbara, Francis Lai… On est passés de la révolution à l’évolution.

Comment collaborez-vous, concrètement ?
B.J. : Frédéric, désormais, c’est quelqu’un à qui je pense quand je travaille, il m’inspire. On ne se parle pas forcément tous les jours mais il y a des connexions, comme lorsqu’on a pensé en même temps à Agnès Varda, qu’on avait entendue chez Pascale Clark, sur France Inter.

F.S. : J’ai alors ressorti le film Jane B. par Agnès V. ; à la même époque, Jane Birkin jouait la Fausse Suivante aux Amandiers, ça a mené à Mozart… Ce sont des tiroirs qu’on ouvre, ça crée une arborescence.

B.J. : On ne fonctionne jamais directement par thèmes, d’après les vêtements. Je lui parle plutôt d’émotions et de sensations.

Ça suppose, pour vous Frédéric, d’être une sorte d’éponge ?
F.S. : Ah oui, super-éponge. Ça prend surtout du temps, ce qui est un peu anachronique avec l’époque dans laquelle on vit. C’est sensoriel, c’est comme mélanger des parfums… Très mental, en fait.

B.J. : On en est très conscients : on veut créer ça, un espace, un moment.

F.S. : Et il faut que ça se combine avec le lieu où se passe le défilé.

Les défilés Bouchra Jarrar sont comme des parenthèses, loin de toute hystérie…
B.J. : On crée un écrin, et on essaie de créer un bon et beau moment. La mode, ce n’est pas que du stress. C’est une proposition.

Sachant qu’un défilé dure en moyenne sept minutes…
F.S. : Quand j’ai commencé, un défilé durait en moyenne quarante minutes et ça pouvait aller jusqu’à une heure, avec 250 tenues, les mannequins qui arrivaient par quinze…

B.J. : Imagine quand la collection était moche…

F.S. : Quand on a commencé avec Martin Margiela, au Café de la Gare, on a fait tout de suite beaucoup plus court, concentré, avec une musique cohérente du début à la fin. C’était dans la lignée de ce qu’avaient proposé les créateurs japonais comme Rei Kawakubo.

Comment faites-vous avec les gens qui parlent peu, ou une autre langue ?
F.S. : Rei Kawakubo, par exemple, arrive juste avant le défilé et on ne parle pas la même langue. Du coup, elle me montre beaucoup les vêtements. Moi, j’ai beaucoup réfléchi le mois précédent à toutes les histoires qu’on pourrait raconter, et une journée avant le défilé, j’édite. Je travaille avec deux assistants, qui sont spécialement en charge de la partie technique, comme les droits, ou les recherches.

Votre dernière grande émotion sonore ?
F.S. : Moi, ce serait plutôt une sensation : en ce moment, j’ai une émotion étrange en voyant défiler la route très très rapidement, et plus je remonte vers le ciel, plus ça devient calme… Ça n’est pas un son à proprement parler mais ça m’évoque de faire des sons de l’ordre du rêve. En ce moment, je travaille beaucoup des sons au synthétiseur, qui deviennent des voix, des chœurs.

B.J. : En Normandie, Frédéric a un lieu fascinant, une boîte avec plein de machines, que je ne saurais même pas nommer, une usine à gaz hypercontrôlée, avec plein de fils connectés à des tas de trucs…

F.S. : Je travaille avec des synthétiseurs modulaires, des filtres, les logiciels de l’Ircam. Le son me passionne depuis l’âge de 6 ans, quand ma sœur a rapporté de Londres un disque, Abbey Road des Beatles, que je me suis mis à écouter comme un dingue. Surtout la face B, quasiment dénuée de blanc, donc c’est quasiment une histoire qui est racontée du début à la fin. Ensuite, j’ai toujours cherché ça : des musiques, des musiciens qui racontent des histoires. J’ai trouvé ça dans la musique progressive, Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Brian Eno, mais aussi dans la musique classique et l’opéra. Plus tard, je me suis demandé, pourquoi cette obsession du son, et du son qui permet d’être simultanément dans des espaces différents. Je me suis rendu compte que ça renvoyait à mon grand-père, qui ne pouvait pas rentrer en Espagne et qui écoutait beaucoup la radio espagnole. Ça lui permettait d’être à la fois ici et là-bas. Ce côté déterritorialisation mentale m’a beaucoup marqué.

B.J. : Pour moi, la musique est à la fois importante et inutile. Je peux passer des journées dans le silence, qui est ma musique naturelle. C’est un silence rempli, qui me berce. Dans le même temps, je suis une douce obsessionnelle et quand je suis amoureuse d’un son ou d’une musique, je vais l’écouter inlassablement, sans me fatiguer, pendant toute une période.

Par exemple, j’ai découvert Dominique A il y a six ans, je ne l’ai pas écouté pendant quatre ans, et il y a quelque temps, je l’ai réentendu à la radio avec un bonheur inouï. Du coup, je suis allée à la Fnac acheter ou racheter tous ses albums, et voilà : en ce moment, Dominique A me berce. Je suis aussi très sensible aux voix. Dernièrement, c’est celle de mon neveu qui m’a éblouie : il récitait un poème d’Artaud, de sa petite voix cassée, on aurait dit Gainsbourg jeune… A l’inverse, je ne supporte pas les voix aiguës, qui correspondent généralement à des gens aigus en tout, dans leur personnalité, leur allure, leur attitude.

F.S. : J’ai besoin d’écouter dans tout ce que je fais. Par exemple, si je nage, j’ai besoin d’entendre l’eau, je ne pourrais pas mettre des écouteurs.

B.J. : On parle très souvent de sons, avec Frédéric. Le battement du cœur, le bruit de la respiration, le souffle… La vie, quoi.

AnOther Mag – 19 Janvier 2016


Decoding the Military Precision of Jil Sander

Text Olivia Singer Photography Martina Ferrara

Jil Sander is a house renowned for austerity, for its stoic dedication to exacting minimalism and a spirit that verges on the brusque. During the noughties, Raf Simons’ tenure at the house saw it err slightly (and wonderfully) towards his own, subversive Belgian romance but, since it came back under Sanders’ own hand in 2012 – and now, that of her successor Rodolfo Paglialunga – the brand has determinedly returned to its Germanic origins. This season, Paglialunga chose to investigate a history of military dress, from medieval leatherwork simultaneously sinister and sexy, to jumpers with the bomber sleeves of 1930s aviation. It was a modern reworking of pieces designed to protect – a theme that we saw explored, albeit in a different spirit – at Craig Green, and one certainly analogous to Mrs Prada’s feeling « deeply serious and deeply human and trying to understand mankind’s difficulties » in her A/W16 collection. The world is currently undergoing a particularly confused period and, as Alexander Fury noted in his Prada show review, « it’s foolish to think fashion exists in an isolated cocoon, or an ivory tower. » Jil Sander’s offering showed just how true that is.

« Clothes have become so extravagant in the last few seasons, » explained Another Man’s fashion director Ellie Grace Cumming, who styled the show. « We were looking to create a wardrobe of clean, modern, Jil Sander staples for a man to wear, but also to be protected in, reflecting the uncertain climate not only in fashion but also in the larger world. » And, whether it was the cross-body straps that echoed bandoliers, the silhouette of a 1940s police coat transformed into a khaki cape, the black leather coats that looked something like a doctor’s uniform turned terrifying or the combination of it all, that sense of security was brilliantly present. « Jil Sander has such clear codes that it can almost become a uniform – and I suppose that’s why we looked at military, as a way of exploring that feeling, » continued Cumming – but not only was there a distinct atmosphere of militia, but equally there was sex. 

Frederic Sanchez’ imposing soundtrack of Coil, Broken English Club and Ministry was evocative of an industrial 80s nightclub – and the flushed young boys, fresh-faced and innocent with slightly tousled hair and pouting pink mouths were exactly the type one would hope to find there. Supple leather trousers were nothing if not S&M; the safety-pins adorning scarves similarly so. The tactility of the fabrics – the 80s Japanese tailoring nylon bonded to shiny, shiny leather, the plasticky pouffes that formed jumper sleeves, the jacquards printed with blown-up maps of an urban city – was breathtakingly desirable. It was a battalion of beautiful boys wearing the uniform of a modern man; as Cummings succinctly surmised, it was « the army within the city that you live in. » 

Business of Fashion – 18 janvier 2016

A Soaring Return to Form for Prada
Watching Miuccia Prada’s latest menswear collection, one thought irresistibly asserted itself: clothes make memories, memories make history.

MILAN, Italy — Prada menswear of late has been a little desultory. Rich in ideas maybe, but erring on the side of dreary in the actual delivery. All that changed tonight. Miuccia herself reeled off a litany of positives after her show: “Drama, passion, heroism, romanticism…” The new men’s collection had all that and more.

No Prada presentation ever wants for a complex, enthralling backstory. This one was particularly rich. The first looks instantly evoked sailors in their little hats, navy jackets, capes and peacoats. Waxed indigo denims looked like clothes for the working tar, and there were shapely officers’ coats for the men above deck. Fabulous shirt prints seemed to depict gods and monsters, the kind of mythic beings that sailors would spin yarns about when they returned from their travels. On closer examination, one tableau featured the likes of Pasolini, Che Guevara, Nina Simone and Sigmund Freud wrestling with classical figures. Each print was created by young French artist Christophe Chemin. His titles were part of the images (Che, Sigmund et al were named The Important Ones).

This blend of historical and contemporary was the collection’s cornerstone. Mrs P said the set was intended to evoke a town square, where people of all backgrounds could mingle. It also looked a little like a courtroom, which fitted with the invitation, designed as a ledger. In that inquisitional vein, by the time models appeared with detached collars and cuffs, I was perfectly happy to think of them as defrocked priests, or at least someone who’d lost their faith. Which, under the strangely romantic influence of the show and its haunting soundtrack, led to Arthur Rimbaud, which led to taking to the high seas to escape an impossible situation at home. From which, it was a short step to the current migrant crisis in Europe. And Mrs Prada was indeed talking about the challenges that confront our humanity in a much more direct way than she would usually, while maybe acknowledging the ineffectuality of fashion in any way other than to divert us.

All of this would simply be a huge red herring if it wasn’t for the fact that the clothes themselves were so winning. Historicism updated could spawn a very convincing cape in denim or tweed, or a Napoleonic smock with a botanical print (though it might just have been rotting fruit). There were those beautiful shirts, some wonderful elongated tailoring (the shearling collars again giving something Napoleonic, which would be the heroism that Mrs Prada spoke of). And there was womenswear, a sampling of the pre-Fall collection, with reconfigured sailors’ coats and long, lean dresses, some backless, all paired with diamond-patterned woollen tights, which suggested the girls waiting back home for the fleet to come in. On Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack, Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue might have been singing « Where the Wild Roses Grow » especially for them.

Mrs Prada has always been a political animal, but her politics have rarely been obvious in her work (or should we call it her art?). Her faith in fashion is, however, something quite distinct. Watching her latest collection, one thought irresistibly asserted itself: clothes make memories, memories make history.

déc. 022015

Palace Costes – Décembre 2015
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Palace

Margiela

NOVEMBER 10, 2015 2:40 PM
by STEFF YOTKA

Today, Frédéric Sanchez is among the most respected sound designers in the world, but in 1988, he was a 22-year-old creative living in Paris who found himself at dinner with Martin Margiela on the eve of the Belgian designer’s debut collection. “It was really the beginning of the house. There was not an office; he was working with his partner, Jenny Meirens, in a little apartment in Paris; and he had just left [Jean Paul] Gaultier, where he was an assistant,” Sanchez recalls over the phone from his studio in Paris.

“We met through a friend. This friend said to Martin that he should talk to me because he was looking for someone to make his soundtrack for the show, so he invited me for dinner in his house. It was very interesting because he was living in a very bourgeois area in Paris, but in a courtyard, like in a very small place, where there were so many magazines and images and things like that. I remember that he had a table set with very, very beautiful white napkins and with chandeliers in silver. I thought to ask him what was the concept of what he was doing. The environment that he was putting together—like the table, which was very beautiful with the napkins and the silver chandeliers but with wax on the chandeliers—the idea of something that has lived, not something too polished, was, he explained to me, the idea behind what he was doing . . . and when I heard all this, it made me think about how I had this idea to do something with music and I was living with music. For me, music was almost like fragments of life, and there was something matching in his idea of the image and my idea of the sound.”

From there the pair began to collaborate on the soundtracks for Margiela’s early shows, really more like gatherings than traditional runways. “For the first show [in 1988], which was in a very old theater, we put some microphones backstage, so when people entered the venue, they were listening to what was going on backstage. It was a sort of introduction of what was going to come next. A sort of what is behind all this?” Sanchez explains. “We spent maybe two months working on this soundtrack and thinking of it. It was my first soundtrack and it was his first show, so it was important how we started. There was a lot of talking and we were spending a lot of time together. The process was quite long, and Martin was very involved in the process, but it was the beginning of my way of doing this and of his way of doing this.”

Remembering their early conversations, Sanchez recalls, “[Martin] also told me a lot about Warhol movies, of the way that Warhol treated the image, where he was scratching the image, almost like the cut of the editing was not very well done. Something that had lived. It reminded me of the way I was playing with records, where I liked very much 10 seconds of the song, and so I was repeating those 10 seconds with the needle. That was really how we started making the concept of what we were going to do for the soundtrack for this first show.”

The collaboration went beyond just the musical aspects of the presentations. “I have to say that not so many people know, but when I started working with him, I was doing the soundtrack, but I was also doing the casting, I was working on different things with him. It was only three or four people then, working on the preparation of the show.” Even in the beginning, all the staff would wear white lab coats, and even once, take a bow all together. “Actually, for the first show, at the end of the show, we all came out on the stage—the models, the people that were working in the house, Martin came on the stage. It was the first time that people saw him—and the only [time]—and I think there was a moment, I remember everybody was very moved, because there was so much energy in these things.”

Sanchez continued to collaborate with Margiela into the ’90s and again when the designer took the reins at Hermès in 1997. His personal highlight, he says, was Margiela’s Spring 1992 show staged in an abandoned metro station in Paris, where models sauntered down staircases lined with melting candles. For the soundtrack, Sanchez cut together snippets of people cheering and screaming from some 40-odd live recordings, creating a 12-minute collage of aahs! and woos! The clothes that season included midi-length skirts in plaids and florals whose prints were painted onto the forearms of models, the effect like that of a garment bleeding over onto flesh, blurring the line between the real and the surreal. “I like this soundtrack very much because it’s a composition with things that really exist,” Sanchez says.

Business of Fashion – 5 Novembre 2015

Frédéric Sanchez

PARIS, France — It was October 1988. In an old Parisian theatre playing host to a runway show, 22-year-old music producer Frédéric Sanchez was on the cusp of his fashion debut. He’d been invited to collaborate with a new acquaintance and a former Jean Paul Gaultier assistant named Martin Margiela. It was a seminal moment for both men — Margiela was also making his own debut. As the now-iconic Tabi boot made its first appearance, leaving its cloven footprint in red paint as the models walked along the runway, Sanchez provided the soundtrack.

“We had the same ideas about fashion, music, sound, how to create,” Sanchez recalls. To compliment Margiela’s unconventional design approach, instead of mixing, he made a sound collage using reel-to-reel tape. “I was editing music, like, in cinema,” he says. He also placed microphones in the backstage area, “so when people were entering the show, they could hear what was behind, what had been in the head of the designer.” It provided an unfettered peek into the mind of the elusive Margiela, who would come to be known as fashion’s “invisible man,” categorically turning down interview and photo requests.

Sanchez has since made a career out of collaborating with designers on a conceptual level, his carefully-curated, cerebral soundtracks cementing his place as one of fashion’s most respected show music producers. He’s matched Miu Miu with movie dialogues pulled from the films of Visconti and Fassbinder; he’s mixed Metallica and Beyoncé together for pop culture aficionado Marc Jacobs; played Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” for an empowerment-themed Prada runway; and staged a Margiela promenade in half sound, half silence.

Sanchez is the master of a minimal soundtrack. He loves the idea of a “soundscape, layers that you don’t really notice at the moment of the show, but maybe a few hours later, you’re going to think about. Almost like a perfume that stays on your clothes. Sound is not like an image,” he continues. “It’s much more. If you have five people who listen to a sound, they might come away with five different impressions. That’s something I really like. There’s something quite magical about it.” The idea of audio-storytelling reverberates through Sanchez’s work. “Someone like Orson Welles when he was doing radio, sound illustrators in the ’50s and ’60s, they were almost doing films with sounds. This was very inspirational for me about how sound can be.”

Even at a young age, Paris-raised Sanchez intuitively connected with sound. His earliest childhood memory is his grandfather listening to Spanish radio. Abbey Road, the Beatles album his sister brought home from London when he was six or seven, acquainted him with the idea of music as a vehicle for storytelling. “I really fell in love with that record,” he says. “The second side, there’s no gap in between songs — it’s almost like you have one track.”

Music was also Sanchez’s gateway to fashion. As a teenager he “was really into” Joy Division and New Order, who had album covers by Peter Saville, the same graphic designer who worked on Yohji Yamamoto’s iconic lookbook-style catalogues in the ’80s. After dropping out of college, Sanchez dabbled in public relations work, first at a theatre and opera house, then as the assistant to fashion publicist Michèle Montagne. There, Sanchez recalls, “It was this environment of all these very creative people. She was working with Martine Sitbon,” who would soon be named creative director of Chloé, and “whose husband Marc Ascoli was the art director for Yohji [Yamomoto] at the time.” It was just before Sitbon started working with Helmut Lang.

“After three months,” he says, “I realised that public relations was really not my thing.” But a seed had been planted. “I was always playing music in the office. Once, Martine had a problem with her soundtrack, and Michèle told her, ‘Ask Frédéric — he knows music really well.’ She explained her collection to me, I pulled together a lot of records and ideas, and I started to think: maybe there is something to do with this.”

At the end of the ’80s, when Sanchez first delved into show soundtracks, “most of the shows were still in the format of the ’70s, which means a very, very long show,” he says. “There were 150 outfits, all with different themes. Usually there was one [type of] music by theme, so it was not continuous.” His first show with Margiela in 1988 was “25 or 30 minutes” long, he estimates. “Now, a show is eight or 10 minutes.”

The process of creating a show soundtrack depends on the client, Sanchez says. “With Miuccia Prada, it starts with incredible conversation about the clothes, the fashion, but also politics, what’s happening in the world. With someone like Rei [Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons], she’s not going to talk, but it’s very important for her to show me the clothes.” For her Spring/Summer 2015 show, Kawakubo simply gave him the word “red” as a starting point.

Sanchez characterises the process as a duet between the designer and himself, a creative back-and-forth that takes about 40 hours of work from start to finish. The working period can span months, a few days or, in an extreme case, overnight. “With Guillaume Henry from Nina Ricci, I’d only worked with him once before, so for the [recent] October show, we started working in July,” Sanchez says. “With [Miuccia Prada], we start maybe a week before the show. But it’s different. Because I’ve worked with her for 20 years, I’m looking for sound for her all the time. It’s not like I arrive a week before and say, ‘So, what are we gonna do?’ I already have all these things in mind.”

Sanchez is constantly researching. “We have over 100 hard drives [in my studio] covering every kind of music: classical, opera, experimental jazz, music scores,” he says. “Plus, I’m buying records, films, books almost every day. In the beginning [of my career], I was always going to record stores, but now with Amazon and eBay, it’s nonstop. I’m always reading about experimental music from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s; when I read something I don’t know, I go on the Internet and then, maybe this artist is related to this artist… suddenly you have a huge vast world [to research and discover].”

With Kawakubo, a sort of kismet happened this past season. Sanchez had been watching David Lynch’s Blue Velvet when he saw “this band I really like, Tuxedomoon, was going to release a record about Blue Velvet. I got a copy from the record label, listened to it and thought, ‘Maybe I should keep that for Rei.’ When I arrived at her studio a month later, I showed her the record, and she said, ‘You’re kidding. That’s something I’ve been thinking about also.’”

Often, Sanchez and the designer will decide on the base of the soundtrack — a general direction — and make tweaks as the show nears. “We build up the soundtrack as the collection and the styling [are decided],” he says. “The hair, the makeup, the attitude you want to give to the models, the venue — all these things are important to creating the soundtrack.”

“You have to be flexible,” he maintains. “It’s something you learn with fashion — it’s better to be quick and flexible. With theatre or film, you have something like eight months [to work through the creative process]. Two years. [With fashion,] it’s really quick and there’s no rehearsal. Often it’s a little bit like by magic that things happen.”

Indeed, sometimes shows don’t happen as planned. A few seasons ago at Marni, there was an unexpected power failure. “We had to do the show with no lights and no sound,” Sanchez says. A similar situation happened at a Givenchy men’s show in 2011. “I pushed the button, and everything stopped,” he recalls. “That’s the interesting thing about fashion — everything is last-minute. You can’t control everything.”

Flexibility can also mean having to change an entire soundtrack immediately before a show. “Once, for a Vuitton show with Marc Jacobs, we had the soundtrack almost finished the day before, when I realised that Gucci had done the same thing. We changed the soundtrack completely, overnight.” Sanchez prides himself on creating “made-to-measure” sound for each show. “For me, it’s very important to give this exclusiveness,” he says.

To that end, he sometimes composes an original piece for a show. At Calvin Klein this past season, “I had the sound moving in the space — it’s something that I do for my personal work, and so Francisco [Costa] asked me if I could do it for the show,” Sanchez says. “They built four huge speakers in the room, and with computers, I made it so that in a certain part of the space you could hear certain elements of the soundtrack — the sound was moving the whole time.” Each person in the room heard something different.

In a way, the runway soundtrack is one of the last pieces of fashion to remain exclusive to the people sitting in the show venue. Because of music licensing and copyright issues, the soundtracks Sanchez creates are often replaced in the videos of shows that appear online. “What people are listening to on the Internet is not what people are experiencing at the shows. [Only] during the livestream can they listen to [my soundtrack online]. Usually the sound is changed, because the rights [to the music] would cost a fortune.”

Thus, Sanchez creates his soundtracks “for a live performance,” he says. “The way you experience the show live in a big room is not the same thing as when you experience it on the screen. What you see is very different, which means that when I look up my work on the Internet, I [usually] wish to do something else.” Indeed, when it comes to the soundscape, Sanchez thinks designers should do more to consider the experience of the online show viewer. “I think there’s a lot of things still to be done with this.”

An Other Mag – 6 Octobre 2015

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The Sensational Sorcery of Comme des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo presented a powerful meditation on blue witches for her fearless and extraordinary S/S16 collection

There are fashion designers and then there is Rei Kawakubo, occupying a space all of her own: a space filled with power, emotion, fearlessness and even love. She is both mythical – an inspiration to every generation that comes after her – and a sorceress, working her magic in the creation of ever more extraordinary garments (to use the word loosely). How apt, then, that her latest offering was a meditation on « blue witches ». Every season, those privileged enough to witness her collections are given one or maybe two words to describe them and that is what she said. She likes her audience to come up with their own interpretation of her show and these gnomic statements only serve to fuel that fire.

In fact, this is not the first time she has explored the subject. In this designer’s eyes, witches are strong women, often misunderstood, who use their force for the greater good. The fact that she clearly identifies with them is poetic but not surprising. Rei’s blue witches appeared preternaturally in tune with the elements, the natural, the supernatural, the mystic… And it says quite something that such grand themes were explored and evoked in the Comme des Garçons S/S16 collection – within only 16 looks.

The Magnificence of Fabrication

What magnificent looks they were. Crafted principally in faux fur, from astrakhan to leopard, they sprouted tubular extremities, and were so huge that models’ slender frames were dwarfed by them. What looked like wet – or possibly oil damaged? – feathers enfolded narrow torsos. Huge cotton ruffles wound their way round circular structures, and even huger crossover straps gathered garments to the body from behind. The pointed toes of shoes – flat and in black patent leather – were directed to the heavens. Plasticized wigs, as big and fluffy as passing clouds, only added to the monumental nature of it all. The designer’s brief to Julien d’Ys, long responsible for the hair and make up of the house, was simply « red » – and how brilliantly that worked.

The Magic of Coincidence

The original swatches of faux fur, sourced in a factory specialising in the material in Spain, just happened to be blue, and Kawakubo fell in love with them. She then started thinking about Blue Velvet, David Lynch, and Isabella Rossellini – and about how such a beautiful woman ended up central to an intrinsically evil world. That brings us to the soundtrack, put together by Frederic Sanchez the day before the show. Call it (almost unbelievable) coincidence, or just witchcraft, but the music he brought with him was the yet to be released Blue Velvet Revisited, an album of tracks by young musicians all inspired by the film. From romantic, classical interpretations, to strangely unsettling animalistic sounds, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The music then moved on to Julee Cruise’s mesmerising Mysteries Of Love, and then ultimately to Rossellini’s performance of the film’s eponymous song. Like Shakespeare’s fool, that final unashamedly nostalgic gesture released the tension, bringing a smile to the lips of all in attendance.

The Alchemy of Kawakubo

Five seasons ago now, there was a revolution at Comme des Garçons. The woman behind it all made the unprecedented decision that she would no longer set out to make clothes for the runway and that, instead, her women’s ready-to-wear presentations would work more as an exhibition – from which a full collection (on display in the label’s Place Vendôme showroom for the days following the show) would spring. And so, here were presented fuzzy blue velvet separates, the black tailoring that the name is known and loved for, knitwear, bags, footwear inspired, as it always has been, by the masculine wardrobe all of which will go on sale in Comme des Garçons stores and in Dover Street Market – a retail concept transformative in its own right – six months from now. The catwalk looks themselves sell for five-figure sums and are bought mainly by collectors.

It is surely significant that the venue of choice this time around was the loud, proud Le Centorial (headquarters to financial powerhous Credit Lyonnais). However Rei Kawakubo presented her collection not in the splendid upper storeys of the building, where other designers have shown in the past, but in its depths – the smallest, most humble space available, and with exposed piping overhead. The plywood runway was so narrow that models struggled to pass each other and the audience could – and in at least some cases did – reach out and touch the clothes. The symbolism of this location alone – and its relationship to a woman behind a multi-million dollar name who, after more than 45 years in the industry, remains at the height of her creative power – needs no explaining. Magic.

anothermag.com

An Other Mag – 30 Septembre 2015

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Palimpsest: The Absence and Presence of Miuccia Prada

Jo-Ann Furniss explores the autobiography of Mrs Prada’s newest collection, and how she is the perfect imagineer for the fashion universe

Photography Federico Ferrari – Text Jo-Ann Furniss

Miuccia Prada was not present at the showing of her Spring/Summer 16 womenswear collection in Milan – and yet her presence could be felt everywhere. It was a Prada collection and show par excellence – both strangely familiar yet strangely strange. In OMA’s floating set, suspended sheets of curved and corrugated fibre glass and plastic were a ghostly mimic for a rougher, metal, real world version of events. So too were the clothes, where the bourgeois tweed suit became almost a delicate apparition, reworked in transparencies, sometimes intercut with aprons of original, traditional tweed. Then time would almost be literally sliced, in clothing made from strips of fabric in patent leather, fur, or the finest couture fabrics. Were these 20s Art Deco stripes? 60s youthquake signifiers? Signs of the sportswear of now? Or was this simply something of the future built on the many iterations of the past?

« Miuccia is always looking for the ‘tipping point’ – something slightly uncomfortable and unconventional. She has no fear in challenging people’s perceptions of beauty » – Guido Palau

What was taking place in fact seemed to be a rushing together of the past, present and future, an almost autobiographical overview from the person of Miuccia Prada – who was herself both there and not there (a personal emergency meant that she wasn’t physically present at the show). Her long-term collaborator Frederic Sanchez’s auditory accompaniment was composed of ghostly snatches and layers of jazz, which he defined as “A disorientation of time, where your head is full of memories – fragments of a life.” The stylist of the show, Olivier Rizzo, described “Miuccia’s life as an eccentric clash of culture and knowledge. Where there are so many years of her looking at the world and of her being in the world.” The show’s hairstylist, Guido Palau, created hair that purposely traversed the lines of kiss-curled flapper, skin girl rebel and ‘baby-fringed’ scally girl, “There is an idea of tricking the eye – it could be seen as nostalgic but it isn’t, » he explained. « There is always something else at work, something strange. Miuccia is always looking for the ‘tipping point’ – something slightly uncomfortable and unconventional. She has no fear in challenging people’s perceptions of beauty.” For Fabio Zambernardi, Miuccia Prada’s design director, “There were so many layers of information, but Miuccia ultimately thought it should be beautiful and chic. We simply wanted to do something chic for a Prada woman with experience and knowledge who likes beautiful clothes. That’s why Miuccia became obsessed with suits. Of course she gets bored of suits in a second! But that is why they also became an obsession for her.”

View Gallery 19 images
Prada perfection: Even when it’s wrong, it must be absolutely right
“’Who is this woman who wears a suit? Is it too old? Is it wrong?’ Very often she likes to hate things. She hates things so much it suddenly becomes what she likes!” So says Fabio Zambernardi, of Miuccia Prada’s spin on the Socratic Method that is her design process. In the world of Prada, perfection is paramount, but this is a perfection that is not easily won: even wrongness has to be absolutely right.

“The sensibility, knowledge and knowhow at Prada – a creative, sensitive and emotional combination – is like nowhere else,” says Olivier Rizzo. “To work for somebody so incredible, so legendary and larger than life as Mrs Prada, together with the wonderful Fabio Zambernardi – it’s like heaven. With the fashion show you are constantly challenged in a good way; every fibre of your being is challenged creatively, emotionally and mentally. You question yourself so much and Miuccia Prada encourages rebellion as a state of mind – she is constantly questioning and challenging herself, she sets the example. It is her detail, thinking process and freedom that opens up everything, that looks at and creates all the possibilities. Everything has to gel for a show, everything – and the openness of mind and courage it takes for her thought and word process blows my mind.”

« Miuccia Prada encourages rebellion as a state of mind » – Olivier Rizzo

Of course, Miuccia Prada knew every finite detail and process of her latest show and collection – she was there until its ultimate completion. But perhaps where her spirit was most present was in the rebellious, chic, wrongness of it all – the sort of wrongness that only Miuccia Prada as a designer can make seem absolutely right, and right now. The figure of Tutankhamen and the 20s Egyptian revival could be found in those coats made of strips of gilded python and delicate suede, as well as in make-up artist Pat McGrath’s gold lips; the ghostly versions of 90s Prada past, made transparent in brown and orange stripes; the fabric veils draped across the models’ chests, original fabrics from the 20s, unique and rare with a finite supply fully utilised for the show; the purposely plodding knits and prints layered underneath and throwing everything off… “When I was eight years old my grandmother decided to make me a sweater and asked me to choose the colours,” says Fabio Zambernardi. “I was very excited, so excited I actually could not choose… In the end I chose brown and yellow! As a kid Miuccia was also attracted to things that were so horrible and ugly, colours so wrong they become right.”

In the latest collection such wrongness of colouration was everywhere present, but particularly in the home-style domesticity of the knitted sweaters layered under elegant flapper dresses, or the ornately embroidered suiting of the finale. A touch of childlike domestic glee that could also be found in the key print of the show, again layered under elegant suiting or dresses, yet looking like a child’s bedspread or wallpaper. Here the details are a race car, a rabbit and a rocket – Miuccia Prada’s eldest son is a race car driver, the rabbit is for luck and the rocket for the future. Such autobiographical signs and symbols of Miuccia Prada can be found everywhere in the collection, as they can be in all of Pradaland – including one of its newest attractions: Fondazione Prada.

Prada-art-land: Fondazione Prada
On the outskirts of Milan, towards Linate Airport, lies the Prada Foundation. In a former industrial complex – a distillery dating back to the 1910s – Rem Koolhaas’ OMA has designed a home for the Prada Foundation and an art collection as idiosyncratic and personal as the S/S16 show. While other corporations present a fundamentally idealised, power view of themselves through art acquisitions to the outside world, Prada’s is distinctly different.

Weird, domestic, warm and witty – while at the same time displaying impeccable personal taste – it is perhaps the most revealing corporate art collection in the world; so wrong at projecting power, it’s absolutely right. Full of blind alleys, staircases to nowhere, nooks and crannies, it is almost as if the art is happened upon by accident at times in this diverse complex of buildings, giving the distinct feeling that you are exploring somebody else’s world, with particular clues to who these people actually are. And, quite frankly, they are mad people – in the best possible way. Less concerned with an ostentatious display of cold, blank power and more with a funfair flair for aesthetics as entertainment, the complex is dominated by a golden tower, only accessible at set times for restricted numbers, called the Haunted House. The Haunted House is home to a Louise Bourgeois installation from 1996 called Cell (Clothes). With traces of the artist’s life through clothing – from ghostly children’s clothes to elegant, grown-up eveningwear – it is perhaps the clearest link in spirit to the present Prada collection: an oddly moving, mixed media biography.

Downstairs, in one of the adjacent gallery buildings, is another clue to the present collection. In David Hockney’s Great Pyramid at Giza with Broken Head from Thebes (1963) is a figure seemingly wearing a coat from the show: a gold and green striped tunic, not unlike model Molly Bair’s look. In the Prada Foundation it is clearer than ever that Miuccia Prada is one of the great ‘brand auteurs’ and a ‘fashion imagineer.’ If any designer is making pop art today – and at this point it makes far more sense for it to occur in the realm of fashion than fine art – it could be credited to Miuccia Prada. With her synthesis of high and low, her unashamed embracing of the consumer experience mixed with a little bit of poisonous doubt in the sugar-candy desirability of her clothing, this commercial, self-referential form of pop becomes post-pop, and she is the Disney queen of it.

anothermag.com

Madame Figaro – 25/26 Septembre 2015

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Olivier Saillard – Historien de la et directeur du Palais Galliera
« Je l’ai connu par l’intermédiaire de son compagnon ,Gaël Mamine, l’un de mes plus grand ami, archiviste chez Balenciaga. J’ai eu un coup de foudre pour Olivier. Il est tellement brillant ! Nous avons la même sensibilité artistique, on peut parler des heures d’Azzedine Alaïa, de Rei Kawakubo ou de Martin Margiela. J’aime cette passion qui l’anime quand il monte des expositions de mode pour le grand public, cette envie de sortir du microcosme. Il m’a encouragée avec tact lors de ma première collection , en me disant: « j’aime profondément ce que tu fais. Tu es une auteur pas une suiveuse ni une copieuse. Alors vas-y ! »»

Frédéric Sanchez – Illustrateur sonore
« Il conçoit les bandes sonores de mes défilés. Nous avons croisé nos univers artistiques avec beaucoup de douceur et de fluidité. Je n’imaginais pas, derrière son personnage plutôt réservé, l’immense poésie qu’il a en lui. Il m’inspire énormément et je trouve merveilleux qu’il s’exprime aussi à travers  ses photos et ses vidéos.

Il a aussi effectué un travail sublime comme commissaire de l’exposition Gainsbourg à la Cité de la musique, en 2008. Il voit les choses sans hiérarchie; seule la dimension artistique l’intéresse. Récemment, il m’a dit qu’il aimait travailler avec les femmes créatrices, et il m’a citée aux côtés de Miuccia Prada et de Rei Kawakubo. »

Kamel Mennour – Galeriste
« J’admire son histoire, son parcours, la façon qu’il a eue de suivre dès le départ une ligne droite, représenter des artistes qu’il aime sans s’éparpiller. D’ailleurs, le fait que Daniel Buren soit fidèle est un signe. Depuis notre rencontre à la Fiac, nous nous sommes liés d’une douce amitié, et j’aime sentir sa présence à mes défilés. Récemment, il m’a fait un joli cadeau :  il m’a invité, en pleine effervescence de la Fashion Week, à visiter en privé sa galerie. Ça m’a fait un bien fou de m’échapper de ma bulle de travail et de sentir cette belle énergie qui circule autour de lui. »

Véronique Nichanian – Directrice artistique de l’univers masculin Hermès
« Avec Rel Kawakubo, elle est l’une de mes créatrices préférées, je regarde ce qu’elle fait depuis toujours. J’aime sa constance, ça vision et le fait qu’elle a dépassé l’idée même de mode pour installer un chic intemporel. J’adore la passion qu’elle met dans son travail, sans esbroufe, avec un côté structuré et souple à la fois. Je la rejoins sur cet amour qu’elle porte à la matière, point central de l’édition d’une collection. »

VÉRONIQUE NICHANIAN
Je ne rate aucun de ses défilés. J’adore sa rigueur, ses choix de couleurs, son sens des lignes. C’est une fille enthousiaste, sincère, fidèle aux gens, avec du discernement. Bref, c’est une belle personne !

KAMEL MENNOUR
Ce qu’elle crée est assez proche des lignes plastiques que je défends. Elle fait des vêtements justes, purs, sans excès ni subterfuge, avec une trame personnelle qui se renouvelle chaque fois.  Notre rencontre a été une sorte d’évidence.

FRÉDÉRIC SANCHEZ
Notre histoire est précieuse. Nous avons un rapport privilégié. Un vrai dialogue s’est instauré, facilité par le fil directeur de ses collections. J’aime sa sensibilité, sa poésie, sa détermination. Bouchra m’inspire, elle est comme une musique de film, un parfum.

OLIVIER SAILLARD
J’aime son exigence et sa pugnacité. Ses collections sont toujours très bien réalisées. Elle est comme un tailleur pour dame. Derrière cette volonté de fer qui la caractérise, c’est aussi une fille qui aime la vie, qui danse et qui rit. chaque été, je l’emmène à la fête foraine des Tuileries; aux autos tamponneuses, j’adore lui rentrer dedans !

BOF Prada Printemps/Été 2016

Capture d’écran 2015-09-25 à 17.18.23

A Spacey Flight of Fancy at Prada
Miuccia Prada wove more of her eerily dissociative magic, but will it cast its spell on a market that seems increasingly resistant to such blandishments?

MILAN, Italy — At first, the jacket and skirt looked like a bourgeois suit. Tweed and plaid. The conservative norm. But such a thing only exists for Miuccia Prada to turn it on its head. The skirt turned sheer, the jacket went pyjama, a mystery veil appeared from somewhere and stayed (for the record, they were real antique veils, the last stock of a company that specialised in such items in the 1920s and 30s).
There were sheer dresses with dropped waists that suggested the 20s — the Art Deco undertow was reinforced by the hair and makeup, gold lipstick and perfectly pasted-down bobs suggesting creatures from a Chiparus sculpture. The striped jacquards evoked Prada’s turning-of-the-tide “pretty/ugly” collection from Spring 1996, the prints of rockets, rabbits and cars, carried over from the last menswear collection had a spacey naiveté. The metallic bauble on a pointy flat? Straight outta Ballets Russes… There were layers upon layers of associations — which soundtrackist Frederic Sanchez (Miuccia herself absent due to a death in the family) artfully defined as “fragments of life”.

Which was just like his music, another of his signature hallucinatory blurrings of eras and sounds: Belgian chanteuse Viktor Lazlo crooning « Cry Me a River », Lydia Lunch’s no-wave anomie, the big band of Carla Bley matched to the edgy atonality of Siouxsie Sioux. The resulting aural stew was like post-apocalyptic cocktail music. Before the show, negronis with a significant kick were served. Afterwards, the passed canapés included specific items that Mrs P remembered from her parents’ parties in the 1950s.

How convincing — or even relevant — is such a cumulative mass of detail? Does it rationalise the co-existence of a cricket sweater, sore thumb in this context, and sensationally striped leather suits? The lack of a seamless whole must have delighted Miuccia. She has always loved kicking against the traces. But in so doing, she opens the doors of perception to multiple interpretations. That seems appropriate to a fashion proposal as wilful as Prada’s.
So, here goes. Think of the new Prada collection as a cocktail party for the strung-out wives of space jockeys. That rocket print was one cue, the neat little suits another. Consider the bauble earrings, the flat silver boots, the thicket of flying saucer paillettes enveloping shoulders, the canapés wrapped in plastic like astronauts’ freeze-dried food… booze and barbiturates accounted for the narcotised music. And then, a finale with more paillettes, translucent and luminous — like starlight, viewed through the bottom of a tumbler.

Business of Fashion – 21 septembre 2015

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New Calvin meets Old Hollywood
Francisco Costa’s distressed glamour was a wonderful blur of sensuous sequinned slips, silken floor-length florals and sensational silk trousers.

NEW YORK, United States — Francisco Costa was working on womenswear at Gucci in 2001 when Tom Ford stirred up controversy with his “Marilyn Monroe” collection, and even more with the Kate Moss campaign that accompanied it. So, Costa has form with blonde bombshells.

For his latest Calvin Klein Collection, he was thinking about Jean Harlow, the original 1930s bombshell, whose publicity shots often featured her in a silk charmeuse slip dress that could, in another era, have slunk straight off Calvin’s catwalk. One of Harlow’s most famous movies was Dinner at Eight. Costa imagined her the morning after such a social event, a little worse for wear, a little déshabillé. “Distressed glamour,” he called it. “Deconstructed, decadent.” It was obvious why they were called slip dresses. These examples slithered and drooped over the models’ bodies, deemphasising their natural assets. Decadent, maybe, but also oddly naïve — an impression that was reinforced by the unfinished hems and seams. Julia Nobis’ chain-mail knit was laddered to rags. Even the silk sneakers were frayed. The coats were so big and raw they looked like a child’s idea of a coat, like a work in progress. Same with those dresses loosely suspended from straps.

Costa claimed he didn’t usually pay much mind to evening-wear, but this collection had some of the evening before the morning after in the long, sensuous lines of slips lightly glossed with sequins, or silken floor-length florals and some sensational “silk garter belt” trousers. Costa outlined the dresses with slender chains, to which he’d attached little charms and found objects. Jean Harlow? No, Joan of Arc, he said. Martyrdom, medievalism… where did they come from? But then, Costa has always been snappy with an obscure reference.

Frédéric Sanchez contributed a perfect musical counterpart in a soundtrack that mixed Nina Simone, Massive Attack and the Orb into a narcotic blur. The morning was, in the end, all a beautiful dream.

www.businessoffashion.com

Dazed digital – 24 septembre 2015

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Backstage at Thomas Tait SS16
Photography Daisy Walker

Stream London Fashion Week’s most electrifying soundtrack
Cult composer Frédéric Sanchez offers up his twisted take on Thomas Tait SS16 with a synth-ridden mix

Nobody epitomises the sound of fashion more than Frédéric Sanchez, the cult Parisian producer who has been lending his musical talents to the runways of Prada, Comme des Garçons, Margiela and Miu Miu for over 25 years. This season, the synth hero crafted a hard and bass-heavy mix for young, agenda-setting designer Thomas Tait, who’s cosmic-inspired SS16 show took London Fashion Week and made it face firmly to the future.

Speaking about the soundtrack to Dazed, Sanchez explained: “Thomas Tait is full of energy. Before making the soundtrack, he sent me emails with a lot of images of what he’s doing as well as the fabrics he’s using, so he gives you a lot of mental images that can be really great to create a soundscape. Like space itself, we wanted to create something that was quite tough and electronic, but at the same time had a lot of poetry.”

“Because his collection was so contemporary, we thought we should look less to the past and talk more about what is happening now, and in the future. There’s an interesting new wave of electronic artists around at the moment, although many of them are inspired by incredible artists from the 70s and 80s like John Carpenter, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and Alan Vega. The artists I have used are very strong, and the soundtrack is quite cinematic. It is about the future, but also about today.”

dazeddigital.com

Numéro – 18 septembre 2015

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La playlist de… Bouchra Jarrar et Frederic Sanchez
Bouchra Jarrar et Frederic Sanchez, le célèbre illustrateur sonore des défilés de la créatrice, partagent avec Numéro une playlist délicate et poétique.

numéro.com

Document Journal Automne/Hiver 2015

Cover

Document Journal Fall/Winter 2015, guest edited by Olivier Rizzo
Document launches its FW15 issue with a special guest edited edition by Olivier Rizzo and 12 covers by Willy Vanderperre, Alasdair McLellan, Guido and Harley Weir, Craig McDean, Jamie Hawkesworth, and Wolfgang Tillmans.

Document launches its FW15 issue with a special guest edited edition by Olivier Rizzo and 12 covers by Willy Vanderperre, Alasdair McLellan, Craig McDean, Jamie Hawkesworth, Wolfgang Tillmans and Harley Weir.
In this, the seventh issue of the magazine, Document collaborates with the legendary stylist and explores all facets of Rizzo’s inspirations and collaborations, including conversations between Miuccia Prada and Alexander Fury, Willy Vanderperre and Alix Browne, Giorgio Moroder and Deborah Harry, Boyd Hollbrook and Kris Van Assche, as well as revealing conversations with Jo-Ann Furniss and Raf Simons.
Additional profiles include Frederic Sanchez in conversation with Laurie Anderson, Vaginal Davis by Bjarne Melgaard, Delphine Arnault by Jo-Ann Furniss, Roselee Goldberg by Shirin Neshat, Andrea Rosen by Miranda July, and superteens Jack Andraka and Adora Svitak in conversation.
Additional features include an oral history of the legendary skateboard brand Powell-Peralta, who heralded the movement for the past four decades, and an unreleased screenplay by enfant terrible Bruce LaBruce.
Original artist portfolios include Wolfgang Tillmans, Jenny Holzer, Peter De Potter, Berlinde De Bruyckere, and Francesco Vezzoli. The 300+ pages of fashion include Willy Vanderperre in an epic 100+ page portfolio, Alasdair McLellan, Guido and Harley Weir, Craig McDean, Jamie Hawkesworth, and Gareth McConnell, alongside a special exclusive project with Fabio Zambernardi.

Document Fall/Winter 2015 launches October 3 and will be available exclusively at The Broken Arm Paris, Dover Street Market London, 10 Corso Como Milan, Dover Street New York, and Bookmarc Los Angeles. The issue will be available at all stores October 8th.

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Dazed – Aout 2015

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The cult composer behind the most iconic runway moments
With his sounds shaking up the speakers of Prada, Comme des Garçons and Miu Miu, we look back on the legacy of Frédéric Sanchez

With his carefully curated soundtracks blasting out from the speakers of Prada, Comme des Garçons, Margiela and Miu Miu, Frédéric Sanchez has become a catwalk icon in his own right. Whether he’s transporting you to another time with his live compositions or mixing up Metallica and Beyoncé, his vast and varied tastes have changed the game for fashion soundtracks. After speaking to Editorial Director Tim Noakes about his already formidable legacy at the Dazed Fashion Forum this weekend, we pick out some of his career-defining moments.

MIU MIU AW09

To accompany Miu Miu’s sultry 2009 show, Sanchez dusted off his 70s cinema collection – scrapping music for soft-spoken European dialogue. Setting a disquietingly sensuous scene, the show featured scores and sex-fuelled conversations from a number of romantic classics (including the films of Luchino Visconti, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Barbet Schroeder).

PRADA AW14

With two sunken orchestra pits hidden away in the shadows, this marked a dark and mysterious start to Prada’s AW season. Once again inspired by the German noir aesthetic of director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Sanchez used cult actress Barbara Sukowa’s vocal talents to resurrect the gloomy spectres of 20s composers Kurt Weill and Arnold Shoenberg.

MARTINE SITBON AW97

Combining the sleek raven-chic of Parisian designer Martine Sitbon with the drones and thrashes of experimental band Hovercraft, Sanchez claims this was one of his all time favourite fashion collaborations. “I really loved that show,” he remembers. “The music, very violent and poetic, had no reference at all. An important side in my work, beside creating mental images, is to take the audience on a sound journey.”

COMME DES GARÇONS SS15

The eerie drones returned for this bloodthirsty Comme des Garçons’ show, with Sanchez creating an atmosphere so heavy it was almost suffocating. Given just the word ‘red’ by Rei Kawakubo as a starting point, he ended up pulling together tracks from metal bands Earth and Sunn O))) to add another, darker layer to the already savage show.

dazeddigital.com

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Dazed – July 2015

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We admit it; the fashion industry has a pretty bad reputation for being hard to crack. You’re interested, sure – but how do you actually get an internship? Or start your own label? Or get your work seen by the right eyes?

Introducing the Dazed Fashion Forum, a day long event coming soon to the Amazon Fashion Photographic Studio in Shoreditch, designed to break down the barriers and bring the best names in fashion directly to those who want to find their feet in the industry. Happening on the 25th of July, the day will feature the likes of Louis Vuitton’s menswear style director Kim Jones unpacking the subcultural references behind his collections; designer Gareth Pugh explaining how he went from squatting in a Peckham department store to getting his graduate collection on the cover of Dazed; our co-founder Jefferson Hack going head to head with Diesel creative director Nicola Formichetti on youth culture tribes; make-up alchemist Isamaya Ffrench on pushing the boundaries of beauty for designers like Junya Watanabe; and much more from AnOther Magazine Fashion Director Katie Shillingford, filmmaker Ruth Hogben, writer Susie Lau, designer Ryan Lo, editor Reba Maybury and others.

There’ll also be a chance to hear from fashion’s unsung heroes who have the jobs you never knew you wanted (like composer Frédéric Sanchez, who’ll be revealing what it’s like to make mixes for Miuccia Prada and Rei Kawakubo to use in their shows) and live demonstrations throughout the day, including Rankin shooting members of the audience – styled by Senior Fashion Editor Emma Wyman – for the pages of Dazed. London designer Claire Barrow will be painting portraits, which you can get printed on your very own custom t-shirt, and set designer Gary Card will also be getting his hands dirty.

“Dazed Fashion Forum is open to all young creatives who want to break into fashion and media,” explains Jefferson Hack of the event. “It’s about leftfield thinkers, sharing radical ideas, opening up new possibilities and showing how youth can break into the industry and make a mark.” “Amazon Fashion is proud to be partnering with the Dazed team to bring the Fashion Forum to life,” adds Juliet Warkentin, Director Brand and Creative at Amazon Fashion EU. “This is a unique opportunity to bring creative role models together with young people just breaking into the industry. We believe in nurturing emerging talent and this is an inspiring project to be involved with.”

If you fancy covering the event for Dazed, tell us, in 200-300 words, what you think is this year’s biggest fashion moment so far and why. Send your answer to fashionforum@dazedgroup.com – winners will have the opportunity to interview any of the line up for a piece to be published online, and runners-up will also get free tickets.

dazeddigital.com

Numero – July 2015

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Bouchra Jarrar Couture show fall-winter 2016 collection
FASHION WEEK July 10th 2015
Numéro talked to Bouchra Jarrar and her sound designer, Frédéric Sanchez, just after her couture show at Paris’s Lycée Henri IV.

Numéro: Let’s talk about the importance of sound in Bouchra Jarrar runway shows. Each season, rather than a classic soundtrack you use a collage of music and spoken words, taken from film clips, that are essential for telling the story of your show.

Bouchra Jarrar: Yes indeed, they’re compositions. Frédéric Sanchez is someone I talk with a lot when I’m preparing my collections. He’s influenced me enormously – he’s like an artist brother. I talk to him a lot about sensations, about feelings… He’s someone I need so as to be able to tell my story. When I’ve found my central theme, once I’m at the stage of pure creation, that’s when we start to exchange ideas, four to five weeks before the runway show. We imagine a story, but without necessarily translating it into words, and we borrow from the words of authors we like. Today it was Agnès Varda.

Frédéric Sanchez: Our exchange is crucial, but the venue is also very important. The question is, how can you inhabit this space with sound? This was my high school, so my school memories from the 80s are mixed in with the story. I remember that at the time Jane Birkin was playing in a production by Patrice Chéreau, and that simultaneously Chéreau had also produced a Mozart opera. This mixture of things is woven into the story we tell – it’s a collage of memories and emotions.

Bouchra, in this collection, you give place of honour to two colours, champagne and azure, both of which are evocative of a rather 1970s, Studio 54 sensuality, and are very refined and very chic.

Bouchra Jarrar: I created my own textiles for the collection, so I also created these exact colours. They tell a story that is both strong and diluted at the same time. To say it very simply, they’re the colours of the sky.

Among the outfits that stand out are those that combine a sleeveless trench coat with trousers – we’re a long way here from the flouncy cocktail dresses so typical of haute couture.

Bouchra Jarrar: Cocktail dresses are a reality, and I can do them, but I wanted to show something else too, something that’s closer to our everyday experience. So this season I treated my trench coats like dressing gowns, like men’s terrycloth robes.

Interview by Delphine Roche

www.Numero.com

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Dazed – June 2015

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Frédéric Sanchez’s Synth Hero mix
The enigmatic Comme des Garçons soundtrack master digs deep into his dark electronic archive
Text Tim Noakes

Every month I invite a different artist onto my Synth Hero radio show to mix up an hour of their definitive electronic influences. This time it’s the turn of Paris based composer and producer, Frédéric Sanchez. Since 1988 he has created some of the most innovative soundtracks for the world’s biggest fashion shows. In the past year alone he has scored runway collections for Prada, Jil Sander, Comme des Garçons, Calvin Klein, Miu Miu, Alexander Wang, Thomas Tait and many more.

Designers come to Sanchez because he is an expert in creating the perfect atmosphere to compliment their clothes. Unlike other show DJs who may go for obvious hits of the moment, Sanchez’s soundtracks feature everything from Sunn O))) and Psychic TV to Sigue Sigue Sputnick and Nana Mouskouri. He uses unexpected sounds to help elevate the catwalk into an unforgettable spectacle, whilst simultaneously giving the fashion industry a musical education. On his Synth Hero mix, Sanchez explore the dark recesses of electronic music. « The way I understand my relationship with the sound and the music has always been autobiographical, » he says. « For me sounds and music are like fragments that I put together in order to create an organic and personal feeling.The way I proceed is always the same either if I use existing tracks or if I compose original music as my starting point has to do with storytelling in order to create mental images. This mix is a journey in my own world and my memories. » Sit back, put your headphones on and let Frédéric Sanchez open up your mind. You might be afraid of what you find…

CHRIS WATSON – “EL DIVISADERO” (from EL TREN FANTASMA, 2011) (00ʼ00 – 02ʼ20)
« In Mexico Chris Watson was one of the last passengers to travel cross country on the train line connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts just before the railroad was cancelled. He recreated the journey of this ‘ghost train’  by capturing the atmosphere, rhythms and sound of human life, wildlife and the journey itself, ‘evoking memories of a recent past’. »
DAVID TUDOR – “PHONEMES” (from THREE WORKS FOR LIVE ELECTRONICS, 1996) (02ʼ07 – 02ʼ35)
« I often use audio generators in my work. I got familiar with them by listening to the work of some composers such as David Tudor. This piece was commissioned for a Merce Cunningham ballet.
ROBERT ASHLEY – “THE PARK” (from PRIVATE PARTS, 1977) (02ʼ12 – 06ʼ00)
« Robert Ashley’s voice is so evocative and enigmatic. You immediately picture situations and landscapes with his speech-songs. »
ELIANE RADIGUE – “TRANSAMOREM-TRANSAMORTEM” (from TRANSAMOREM-TRANSAMORTEM, 2011) (04ʼ04 – 07ʼ30)
“The journalist and director Anais Prosaic did a very intimate film portrait about Eliane Radigue, one of the pioneers of electronic music. In it she says that the meaning of her work is to play with the natural performance of the electronic sounds using all the possibilities the synthesizer ARP 2500 can offer.”

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CLUSTER – “LERANDIS” (from QUA, 2009) (05ʼ51 – 07ʼ35)
“Most of German electronic musicians from the 70s explain their work by saying that the war has destroyed the past. I have always found it fascinating that most of these electronic and avant-garde musics were not created in an industrial environment but in the middle of the countryside.”
GHEDALIA TAZARTÈS – “MERCI STÉHANE” (from DIASPORAS TAZARTÈS, 2004) (07ʼ29 – 10ʼ00)
“I only saw Ghedalia Tazartès perform once. It was maybe 20 years ago. What he is doing is so physical that I have never considered him as a musician.For me he is much more than that: somewhere between a singer, an actor and a dancer.”
ALESSANDRO CORTINI – “FANTASMA MODULAZIONE” (from SONNO, 2014) (08ʼ11 – 12ʼ10)
“You get everything by reading the title of this piece. It is always nice to watch videos of him playing with his Buchla music easel.”
GORDON MUMMA – “MEGATON FOR WM. BURROUGHS” (from ELECTRONIC MUSIC OF THEATRE AND PUBLIC ACTIVITY, 2005) (09ʼ45 – 13ʼ45)
“I chose this piece because of the connection between sonic art and the William Burroughs cut-ups. It’s a great lesson in how to create new form of compositions and how to put sounds together.”
SECTION 25 – “C.P.” (from ALWAYS NOW, 1981) (12ʼ50 – 15ʼ10)
“I remember that I bought this record because of the cover. I still own an original copy of it and will never give it away. I also remember the great impact the music and the sound had on me. Whenever I listen to it I feel the same emotion. It is timeless.”
FRÉDÉRIC SANCHEZ – “FILM SONORE 17” (15ʼ10 – 18ʼ20)
« An extract from my last piece. »
LAWRENCE ENGLISH & WERNER DAFELDECKER – “MAPPING PEAKS” (from SHADOW OF THE MONOLITH, 2014) (17ʼ05 – 21ʼ29)
“I recently discovered the work of Lawrence English and found similarities with my approach to sound design. I empathise with his ability to infiltrate and occupy the body and also how to listen to things in a creative way.”
ZBIGNIEW PREISNER – “LAMENT” (from DIARIES OF HOPE, 2013) (18ʼ47 – 21ʼ20)
“I find it interesting when a composer is so close with a film director, like Preisner was with Krzysztof Kieslowski. For me the soundtrack has a big part in what you remember of Kieslowski’s movies.”

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FRANÇOIS BAYLE – “EROS BLEU” (from ARCHIVES GRM LE SON EN NOMBRES, 2004) (21ʼ17 – 23ʼ24)
“It is fascinating in this piece how Francois Bayle manipulates the voice with the help of the computer. Just with a reverb and a filter module you can get endless possibilities.”
BRUCE GILBERT AND BAW – “THE VOID” (FEAT BRUCE GILBERT, A. DAVID CRAWFORTH, NAOMI SIDERFIN) (from DILUVIAL (FEAT BRUCE GILBERT, A. DAVID CRAWFORTH, NAOMI SIDERFIN), 2013) (22ʼ18 – 25ʼ20)
“WIRE was one of my favorite bands from the post punk era because of their cross-disciplinary edge. Each member of the band was also commissioned tocreate variety of film music, art installations, dance projects. One of my favourite collaborations was between Bruce Gilbert and the choreographer Michael Clark. »
JOHN T. GAST – “SHANTI-ITES” (from EXCERPTS, 2015) (24ʼ17 – 26ʼ19)
“This is an outstanding new artist who describes sound as ‘An ambient enigma steeped in post-hypnagogic tristesse’. So haunting.”
CABARET VOLTAIRE – “HALLUCINATION SEQUENCE” (from JOHNNY YESNO (THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE MOTION PICTURE), 1983) (25ʼ21 – 30ʼ06)
“What a hallucinatory soundtrack for the Peter Care’s movie.”
TUXEDOMOON – “BLIND” (from TIME TO LOSE- BLIND, 1982) (29ʼ32 – 37ʼ03)
“In the 80s I used to spend a lot of time in Brussels which was a crossroad for musicians coming from all other the world. There is always something very sentimental for me while listening to this.”
JOHN GIORNO – “GIVE IT TO ME BABY” (from 10 + 2: 12 AMERICAN TEXT SOUND PIECES, 1975) (36ʼ42 – 37ʼ48)
“A few years ago I went to visit John Giorno at his place in New York. He was living in the Bunker: William Burroughs’s place on the Bowery. He showed me all his recordings of texts and the editions he uses to make of them. You must check out Big Ego – A Diamond Hidden In The Mouth Of A Corpse.”
BILL NELSON – “THE SHADOW GARDEN” (from FROM BRUSSELS WITH LOVE, 1986) (37ʼ10 – 39ʼ43)
“One track from one of the outstanding compilations made by the very stylish Belgian record label: Les Disques Du Crepuscule.”
WALTER DE MARIA – “OCEAN MUSIC” (from DRUMS AND NATURE, 2000) (38ʼ26 – 40ʼ26)
“Two songs from renowned sculptor Walter De Maria featuring a tribal drumming pattern and the sounds of nature. He used to play drums with The Velvet Underground and on Henry Flynt & The Insurrections’ « I Don’t Wanna ».”

 

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EDGARD VARESE – “POEM ELECTRONIQUE” (from ELECTRONIC MUSIC SOURCES VOL 2 (1937 – 1959), 2012) (39ʼ26 – 40ʼ12)
“This piece is connected to the architect Le Corbusier who was commissioned in 1958 to design the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels Art Fair.”
JON HASSELL – “MAP OF DUSK” (from THE MYTHS COLLECTION PART 2, 1990) (39ʼ26 – 43ʼ13)
“The Myths Collection are the very first production by outstanding Belgian record label Sub Rosa.”
MARTIN HANNETT & STEVE HOPKINS – “CONCORDE DRONE” (from THE INVISIBLE GIRLS,2015) (41ʼ23 – 43ʼ48)
“Steve Lillywhite, Brian Eno, Chris Thomas, Martin Hannett, Gilles Martin… producers have always been as important as musicians for me. How to work in the studio, how to make the sound, how to record, how to mix the music.”
JEAN NEGRONI & PIERRE HENRY – “IL Y EUT DANS LE CIEL UN SILENCE” (from APOCALYPSE DE JEAN, 1999) (43ʼ40 – 46ʼ09)
“I am not a religious person but when I listen to this Pierre Henry Oratorio with the very special voice of the actor Jean Negroni I can see angels.”
DIAMANDA GALAS – “DELIVER ME FROM MINE ENEMIES” (from THE DIVINE PUNISHMENT & SAINT OF THE PIT, 1988) (45ʼ03 – 47ʼ11)
“Derek Jarman used this music for his movie “The Last of England ”: a beautiful moment with Tilda Swinton.”

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SCOTT WALKER – “THE DARKEST FOREST” (from POLA X (ORGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE MOTION PICTURE, 1999) (47ʼ10 – 49ʼ55)
“After the release of his masterpiece Tilt Scott Walker did this collaboration with the French director Leos Carax.”
ASH RAM TEMPLE – “SILENCE SAUVAGE“ (from LE BERCEAU DE CRISTAL (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE MOTION PICTURE, 1976) (49ʼ33 – 52ʼ03)
« Very poetic soundtrack from the Philippe Garrel movie starring Nico, Anita Pallenberg, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clementi. »
EDGAR FROESE – “THE 31ST FLOOR” (from KAMIKAZE 1989 (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE MOTION PICTURE, 1982) (51ʼ27 – 53ʼ46)
“A cyberpunk thriller movie with Rainer Werner Fassbinder playing a detective investigating a string of bombings that lead to a corporate media conspiracy.”
FRÉDÉRIC SANCHEZ – “FILM SONORE 17” (53ʼ35 – 54ʼ39)
« Another extract from my last piece. »
JOHN CALE – “RISE, SAM AND RIMSKY KORSAKOV” (from MUSIC FOR A NEW SOCIETY, 1982) (54ʼ32 – 56ʼ45)
“I always find fascinating voices, sounds and music through airwaves. Most of the time you can listen to them clearly but sometimes they are just snatches. It is very similar to watch the stars in the sky at night, you have no idea about their distance, you see them appear and fade away but the all experience is so poetic.”
LOU REED – “PART 1” (from METAL MACHINE MUSIC, 1975) (56ʼ39 – 59ʼ36)
“In a world sometimes so plain and politically correct maybe this record should get visible again. When it came out the big joke was how many people could get to the end. On the other hand this record opened so many doors that other artists have been beyond. What I appreciate with this work is how the sound becomes more and more organic and mental.”

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