What inspires you more to design? And what is your creative method of working?
I like stories. Be it in my consulting jobs for fashion brands or my own line and work, design is for me intricately connected to emotion: a specific story or feel you want to convey. So maybe that’s why I’m procrastinating production, even though I could be doing it. In the process of making, that’s where I tell the story. It’s not pragmatic, I never really use patterns, and if I do, I get bored and start changing as I cut. All those years making clothes have given me a sharp eye on patterns. I mostly free-drape and sculpt on the doll a lot, meaning there is no trace of what I do mostly. That’s what’s different from the cycle of a garment when being designed for a commercial or production purpose, the chain is so long and involves so many different people. I tell my story through my craft: my energy goes into a moment, and that moment is ended when the piece is finished.
You did collaborate with many successful brands, but your aesthetic changes radically when it comes to work on commission. How difficult it is to stay true to yourself when you design for other brands?
This is a good question. For me, being true to myself is expressing one of my client’s story in the most beautiful and accurate way for them through the ideas and designs I create for them. When it comes to my work, I express what is important and relevant to me. When I left my fixed job in Paris, I was in such a rebellion against all the system, the waste we were creating and I acted upon my urge to change myself, even if it meant being a little more true to myself. My grandfather was a marine biologist in California, my other Swiss grandfather was protecting birds, and yet I was in one of the most polluting industries in the world… And just like my childhood heroe Jane Goodall tells “ If you want leaders to listen, use the power of storytelling”. Some go scream in the streets, some tweet, some create. Eventually, we all walk in the same direction, and that’s what’s wonderful.
The sustainability theme is one of your brand’s core values, what do you do to constantly improve this aspect in your creations?
I was thinking in a new way about this word. It is interesting to see how it is mostly (over)used as validating a process or giving yourself a pat on the back for being a good citizen or doing a good deed. I think sustainability is not an end goal, and we clearly cannot talk about sustainability when that end goal is monetary profit. Sustainability is not ordering an eco cotton poplin when half of your team has gone into burnout (me included) because of such poor values and leadership management. Sustainability IS the people. Beyond any need for a new capsule or fall winter collection, I think sustainability is just recognizing that we are all playing the same game thats’s called life.
If there were another path you could use to express your creativity what would it be?
Opera! Dance! Video! Installation! I have designed my first movie costumes for a 1900 feature film based in the Swiss mountains last summer, and that creative process was really inspiring. You go into the scenario, you sense and feel all the atmosphere. I also make a lot of my own books and editions, with images, texts and drawings from my travels. And I love to share my experience with the younger generations. I teach sometimes and have always loved working with my interns, untangling questions about life and trying to inspire them to pursue their own path.
Future plans you want to share with us?
Maybe working again in Paris. Establishing little by little my own line and my atelier in Lausanne, And definitely I have had this vision of a large textile installation of all my dresses floating in a large gallery space, with my paintings on the wall and one of books.