NEW YORK PARIS | SS_2014 | SOPHIE THEALLET TALKS TO MODE DIPLOMATIQUE
Sophie Theallet vit désormais le rêve américain. Son nom est devenu en l’espace de quelques années synonyme de glamour, de l’élégance et du sens du détail. En effet, la créatrice française qui a fait ses armes chez Jean Paul Gaultier puis Azzedine Alaïa a lancé sa marque éponyme en 2007. Aujourd’hui expatriée à Brooklyn, Sophie Theallet séduit l’Amérique et notamment la Première Dame Michelle Obama qui ne jure que par ses créations. La designer a voulu partager ses convictions et sa vision avec nous malgré un agenda chargé. Mode Diplomatique remercie particulièrement le CEO Steve Francoeur pour avoir facilité la réalisation de cette .. entre vues avec Sophie Theallet
What’s in store for Sophie Theallet Spring Summer 2014?
Sophistication and sensuality because this collection is a woman’s collection, created by a woman. there are feminine silhouettes with a graphic thistle motifs prints. I was interested in the paradox of the thistle, which is both a remedy and considered a bad weed too.
Does Europe set the tone for fashion in America today?
It depends what we define by tone. I believe today that it’s not so much about geography, but more about the Power of the Mega Brands, who are mostly located in Europe. Every major Editorials, Advertising, Cover, Celebrity will be featured with the Fashion of these few majors. So, in that sense, they definitely set the tone for everything.
Let us leap back in time, to your débuts. How was it to work with Jean Paul Gaultier?
I spent a magical time just coming out of school (the renowned french fashion design school, Studio Berçot Paris), which I graduated one year early after winning France’s “National Young Designer Award” There was this feeling that we were changing the landscape of Fashion. it was fast and fun. Lot’s of energy, Press, Celebrities, I was assisting at the same time chez Martin Margiela, and I learned a lot from Jean Paul Gaultier the most influential designer of that time, teaching me how to work with colors and most importantly, how to be fearless and to trust our own instincts. He was a real innovator and groundbreaker.
How did you come to chose a career in fashion design?
I fell in LOVE with Punk Music while vacationing in London at 14 years old, I adored the Fashion and attitude, I discovered Vivienne Westwood. She was a true inspiration.
Where does your love for knits come from?
First, my Grand Father had a knitwear Factory in the South of France, i remember the workers and the smell of the wool. That said ; my love of knitwear comes from working with Mr. Alaïa, I have wonderful souvenirs of traveling to Italy together, working hard until late at night, but always having fun and laughing.
To what would you attribute your success in the american fashion panorama [CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund 2009 winner]?
My success is the results of many factors and thanks to the people who believed and continued to support my brand which we launched in 2007. In 2009, I was grateful to win the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Moreover, I was fortunate to dress the First Lady Michelle Obama from the start and she has helped my name to be known. Then, with the support of my Stores, Editors, Press, Clients, Celebrities, Friends, Models, Agents, Collaborations … my Partner & Husband, our team at Sophie Theallet, Investments and loans…etc we sailed. That said; nothing would have been possible without the solid foundation i received working at Jean Paul Gaultier and especially with Mr. Alaia.
What inspires you to design clothes for women?
I am inspired by the journey of life, Music, Art, Books, Sensuality, what I feel in my day to day. I am passionate about craftsmanship, luxury and the pleasure of creating with a sense of meaning. That said, I am inspired by my clients and by offering something unique, of value for their lifestyle.
What are the components of a great dress?
It is difficult to say, you know, sometimes simplicity makes a great dress, sometimes it has to be very intricate. Definitely, the right cut, fabric and intention are a must.
How do you know when you’ve completed a design?
When I stop thinking about it at night.
Does a woman ever come to you with a preconceived notion of what she wants that is unsuitable for her, and what do you do?
If she comes to my Atelier, she has to trust my experience, otherwise it cannot work. Everybody has a preconceived notion of what works for them or doesn’t. My approach is to listen to my client and then contribute to elevate the vision she has of herself.
Who are your favourite women to design for?
I’ve always loved women with strong character and personality. Intelligence and uniqueness of thought is always more sexier than purely aesthetics.
On Fashion: How being timeless to you does not mean I don’t create for the moment? I ask you this because honing your craft chez Alaïa for a decade is about being timeless. Does that mean your designs are pegged less to the period we live in?
I believe that you can always progress and be current and still have timeless quality to your design. In a sense, you can have a solid technical foundation and build on it with innovation.
I think that Innovation without foundation is an oxymoron.
Qu’est-ce qui vous touche chez un couturier iconoclaste comme Mr. Alaia, irrationnel pour le système de la Mode?
Mr. Alaia est au delà de la mode. Son statut est plus que mérité, il est un Maître vivant, ses vêtements et produits sont exceptionnels. Il a créé son propre univers et il vit dedans. En réalité c’est très rationnel. (ndlr: Le Musée Galliera à Paris accueille le couturier Azzedine Alaïa pour une exposition du 28 Septembre 2013 au 26 Janvier 2014)
Qu’est-ce qui l’emporte dans l’acte de créer : la souffrance ou le plaisir?
On commence généralement par la souffrance, le doute, le syndrome de la feuille blanche, ou même parfois le trou noir…. le plaisir ne se fait sentir qu’après, au moment où les premiers maillons de la chaîne se créent, et que la collection prend forme tranquillement. C’est alors une réelle excitation. Ainsi, on se fait à l’idée que la création c’est à la fois de la souffrance et du plaisir.