For the sartorially inclined there are two terms that are the “high-water mark” in the world of made to measure fashion. They are haute couture, if one is of the female persuasion, and bespoke, if one wears a suit as their uniform of choice. The fact is simply that it is just a matter of semantics and habit that each euphemism is applied in these particular ways. The meanings are very much the same as they both “say” custom made and both speak to the aspects of being made by hand and customized to a specific client.
Today is about a young gentleman who uses the terminology in a most 21st century manner as he has labeled his body of work/collection and profession as Couturier for Men. The clothes are of the most modern yet fabled designs and utilize all the textbook methods of the art but Marc-Antoine Barrois has massaged them in the most contemporary of ways that befit the most discerning of clientele.
It only makes sense that this treasure can be found in the home of Haute Couture. Have a look at what an “haute couturier” has to say about fashion and life!
1-What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
Some of my first collections … vintage garments despite I am not wearing it anymore.
2-What is your most sterling trait and what trait do you treasure most in your friendships?
I am enthusiastic and curious
3-What is your bliss?
I love so much when a client is happy to wear his own suit for the first time and so sad when he doesn’t show happiness… I hope the day one is disappointed he would tell me!
4-What is your guilty secret?
5-Where is your ideal home?
I love Paris and could live there forever as long as I keep traveling a lot. It is the perfect center of my world!
6-If you could not be a designer, what would you be
I admire talents I don’t have: I would have dreamt of being a ballet dancer or a pianist!
7-What is on your bedside table right now?
Antoine de Saint Exupery’s book “The Little Prince”. It’s always been with me, it’s my favorite book!
8-What do you wear to bed?
Kelly Calèche of Hermès
9-What if any, book are you reading now or last read?
I am between two at the moment. First is Honoré de Balzac’s “traité of Elegance” that a Canadian friend offered to me. It is really interesting. Second is my friend’s Jacqueline Pitchal roman “Mister Maybe” about improbable jet-set love story between Paris and Palm Beach…
10-What’s your advice to the “newcomer?”
Dream it, believe in it and work hard to make it happen!
11-Who or what is your inspiration/style icon?
Cary Grant in “Catch a Thief” – James Bond in most circumstances – Robert Redford as Gatsby ;-) Thought at first I have always been impressed by my grandfather’s style, really elegant, looking alike Hubert de Givenchy.
12-What is the best advice you ever received?
In my life I am acting like a sponge, taking all advices and each one is important, from my 73 years old tailor who gives me tips or Hermès’ executive officer who tells me what I should take care for the coherence of my projects to my family or friends’ advices.
13-In 3 words or less, describe the current state of fashion.
14-If you were a retailer; would you wear your own designs or shop in your own store? or where would you shop?
I love dark blue shirts& T-shirts so wherever I see one I like I buy it…
15-If you won a $200,000,000 power ball (lottery), what is the first thing you would buy or do?
I would invest $200,000,000 in my house of fashion!
16-If you could invite up to 4 people for dinner, who would they be…dead or alive?
Part of me would love a family dinner with ones I loved who are not in our world anymore but I am mostly looking towards life and would consider a dinner with Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Steve Sadove (Saks dept. stores’ CEO) and Larry Gagosian (Contemporary art dealer & gallery owner) to explain them my history /DNA and ask them for their advices and help.
17-What is your favorite movie /or movie star?
Mary Poppins… I’ve always loved the idea to jump in a drawing and to experience any imaginary world.
18-What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
I encourage everyone to accept themselves as they are so I would change nothing… Thought with a magic wand I would make time goes by slower.
19-Whose opinion do you value most?
My opinion, my instinct or my emotions
20-What store or which designer do you most like to shop in or wear?
As I don’t have one favorite brand, I prefer concept stores with a multi brands selection like Colette.
21-What’s your take on magazines, books versus the internet?
I love paper magazines and often reproach internet for not producing their own editorials. In my mind, the best would be a website publishing exclusive editorials and interviews/portraits every days or week and asking its readers to vote for their favorite ones that would be printed once a year in a special luxury paper issue.
22-Do you have a dream collaborator?
23-If you could choose anyone as a client who would that be and why?
When I started doing couture for men I thought about Elton John because I would not have to channel my creativity. Today I would dream of making Cannes and Oscar’s ceremonies tuxedos for any actor or actress who would consider my work of unique pieces made to measure specially for them.
24-What’s your music library like?
Mostly classical music. I love Chopin and my favorite tubes are Brahms’ “Hungarian dances”.
25-What and where is your favorite meal?
At home when I host a dinner with friends… I love to make people I like meet each other despite their differences. I truly love crepes but my friends are getting bored of it… so I cook sauce dishes from the north of France where I am from.