DISCOVER OUR MEETING WITH JULIEN FOURNIE AND A PREVIEW OF HIS FIRST COLLECTION IN THE OFFICIAL CALENDAR OF HAUTE COUTURE
After creating his couture fashion house in 2009, designer Julien Fournié received the official « Haute Couture » label in 2016. In just seven years, the designer has forged a name for himself and emerged as a leading figure in the young generation of couturiers combining know-how and modernity. A few days before his first fashion show as a « permanent member » of Haute Couture, the designer welcomed us into his studio on Rue de Paradis in Paris, alongside the people who have supported him since the beginning. Discover our meeting with the designer and a preview of the collection.
A mere stroke of the pencil is enough for Julien Fournié’s magic to come alive. The couturier defines himself as more visual than auditory. His office on the Rue du Paradis houses a library, his « greatest asset, » which further defines him through his choices. Gathered there are all the couturier’s inspirations since he first took an interest in sewing at age fourteen, when he left Legos and Barbies behind (even dismissing the latter as not representative of the female body). His library mixes manga, fashion books, contemporary art, as well as novels like « Alice in Wonderland, » which gave him his catchphrase « Follow the White Rabbit » and his code name on social media. The reason: because Julien Fournié’s magic lasts only a moment, like a flash. One hardly discovers one of its wonders and it is already elsewhere, dancing on a new creation from a collection to come.
Each one of his collections, imagined alongside Jean Paul Cauvin, his general manager, and Madame Jacqueline, his head seamstress who began her career alongside Pierre Balmain and later collaborated with Dior and Chanel, is always entirely conceived and produced in his workshop or with his ready-to-wear manufacturer: purely « made in France. » Each creation highlights the intricate spirit of the couturier: his « mathematical » conception of fashion, with each reference carefully plotted within his Cartesian mind, blends alchemically with his quest for personal freedom and the emancipation of the female body and its posture. Only complex spirits can extricate themselves from all etiquette to create the most interesting and marvelous pieces. His partnership with the 3D giant Dassault Systèmes allows him to reconcile the apparent contradiction between tradition and innovation by creating technical dresses in chrome or neoprene, while giving pride of place to the novelty and originality of a universe in the pure tradition of handmade Haute Couture.
Julien Fournié pursues this quest for freedom as much through the stories he tells as in the silhouettes and sartorial architectures he conceives: fluid pieces carried by the free bodies of heroines, chimeras, women who exude a supernatural energy on the podium. These same women whom Julien Fournié first discovered at the age of 15 in the works of Matthew Barney, evoking fantasies, sexuality, and love, or in Claude Montana’s photographs for Lanvin Haute Couture, highlighting a futuristic vision of woman in motion.
For his first collection as a « permanent member » of Haute Couture, Julien Fournié takes inspiration from the pictorial and artistic movements of the 1960s. An aficionado of the history of fashion, he revisits strong references to kinetic art while leaving room for innovation. For the couturier, the most inspiring fashion is tomorrow’s fashion. Each new collection provides an opportunity to create something new. For the Haute Couture SS17 collection, for example, he joined forces with the Lyon-based company Synia to develop a new « doming » prototype: a new form of embellishment that applies cold lacquer to precious organza on one of the skirts.
For the man who was supposed to study medicine, securing the Haute Couture label is both a Holy Grail and a gateway to new explorations of his creative verve, which is constantly evolving on a technical level thanks to his cherished FashionLab. Because there is no better way to preserve the treasure of French know-how than to spur on its evolution and keep it alive.
Photos: Crash Magazine
Film preview: © Julien Fournié
Written by Lisa Tomasi