By Alice Butterlin

Most of the world has been in lockdown for over a month now due to the COVID-19 crisis. A moment frozen in time, when people are faced with solitude, grief or anxiety and see their daily lives shift for the better or the worse. In this time of extreme uncertainty, we can also take the time to reflect, create and enjoy the passing of these strange elastic days. We thought it would be interesting to ask artists around the globe how their creative process has changed during the quarantine and if it has been an inspiring or rather daunting experience… with a quick snapshot of themselves in lockdown. Meet young Paris-based designer Alphonse Maitrepierre. His aesthetic evades any easy description with its eclectic blend of various eras, subcultures and trends, playfully pairing the extravagance of 90s club kids with the elegant futurism of the 60s. Sometimes surrealist or even childlike, his creative vision conveys a relaxed take on haute couture that is perfectly suited to today’s ultra-connected youth culture. Discover how he is spending his days lately.

How has your daily life changed since lockdown began?

I went down to my family’s home in the south of France. The post-collection break that was supposed to last ten days turned into two months. I went from the stress of Paris during Fashion Week to a completely different, slower and more restful pace.

Have you had to rethink the way you create?

Yes, of course. We had already started that process for the previous collection, so the current situation has only pushed us further on down that road. It’s now unthinkable for us not to work with French expertise and local craftspeople. We began taking that approach last season, but that we now want to expand our efforts and apply it to our entire production.

Did you realize anything in particular during this time?

I’ve realized just how important temporality and time are to the process of building collections, as well as the need to really digest ideas in order to craft a story that really speaks to people and meets their needs. Not just putting out clothes that quickly go out of season, I don’t think anyone wants that anymore.

Are you worried?

Yes and no. It’s very strange to know we’re living through a period of historic change that has happened in just a few weeks… At the same time, I feel oddly relieved that the people around me also feel the urge to do things differently.

Do you feel more inspired or paralyzed by the lockdown?

Inspired. I am lucky to have a little garden and when the sun is shining I set up my table outside and take out my pens. I like the sense of simplicity and the feeling of something new in the air. It gives you hope that a new idea just might reach people. And it feels good to finally disconnect. I’m taking the time to immerse myself in art books, to focus on something other than clothes, to broaden my field of vision, and it feels good.

Have you started or returned to any activities that you do not normally have time to do?

Yeah, but I guess I didn’t have a choice. Now it’s straight to the gym every night, since I’ve been eating for four since lockdown! I also like to just lie down and read on the lawn; it feels good to be more quiet. But you have to admit it’s strange to think that the whole world is on a break; it’s both fun and scary at the same time.

What do you think you’ll take away from this shutdown?

I hope to remember that we do this job for fun and the freedom to create whatever we want. I really want to remember it because sometimes when you have your nose to the grindstone you forget what makes you feel good. It’s a hard job, so you can often forget why you’re doing it and turn into a ball of stress.

How do you see life after this crisis?

Different, more thoughtful, with a strong individual and collective awareness of the challenges facing our industry. But without overdramatizing things, just so that we don’t look away anymore and make better choices for ourselves and for everyone else.

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