Monday, May 18, 2020

meet a yet to be discovered star... Roy Puertazs

As I constantly remind myself and everyone who reads what I write, I can never quite sufficiently express how grateful I am for the internet and its inhabitants. Take the case of today’s interviewee Roy Puertazs. Here is a man who upon first glance is a younger David Gandy and then upon further examination, he is a man of many moods and looks without looking like a Ken doll of sorts. 
If you frequent the likes of Facebook and Instagram, it is very hard not to spot the wannabes, the faux models and the “pay per view” set but we all make assumptions and in the case of Roy, my assumption was only vaguely related to reality. He is first and foremost the real deal professionally and then you discover how gracious, charming, warm, endearing, caring, hot and sexy he is as well. There is nothing aloof or icy about him nor anything standoffish, he is as genuine as one could wish for and more.
I feel secure in saying that he and I are friends and not just in a virtual way even though we have never met. I sense a kinship that is very rare because there is great emotion that he exudes and his openness is so rare even if it was an actual face to face friendship… I think you get the idea of what kind of man lives in that body whose looks engender everything you might expect from a model minus the ego and attitude.

So, now you get to experience the charm, graciousness and warmth of Roy Puertazs in his own words….

Jeffrey Felner: Can you give us a bit of background as to how you “arrived” at where you are now professionally?
Roy Puertazs: Well, it all started when I decided to leave a tiny city, invited by a scout to be part of a new faces team in a big agency in São Paulo at a time when the city was very relevant into the world’s fashion scene. I must say that it was really hard in the beginning, as I was used to the country/farm way of life: in a day I was milking cows, in the next, I was in front of cameras or on catwalks lol... all very new for me… and very exciting actually! Making the long story short, as time passed, I went modeling first in Mexico City, then Santiago de Chile, Milan and Istanbul and now I’m back in São Paulo while we face the pandemic.
  JF: If you could choose any collaborator or collaboration, who or what would it be and why?
RP: I’d like to make a worldwide fragrance campaign, that would be great. Talking of cosmetics, go on modeling in Paris would be nice too, and it’s in my plan. Shooting with Mario Testino, Steven Klein and Bruce Weber is something I want as I quite like their images. Oh, and modeling in New York is surely in my plan too.
 JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?
RP: First person would definitely be my mother, as I spend very little with her and she’s a person I love and admire very much as person. I’d invite Donatella Versace and Giorgio Armani, as I’m a great fan of their work, history and relevance, then Bruce Weber would be great to have at the table too, that would be a nice talk about the way he works and his very specific eye. I’d love to have Naomi Campbell too, as she’s my favorite uber model, and I know she quite likes Brazil, we’d have lots to talk about. My friend Jeffrey Felner would complete this table, in a good restaurant in New York.
 JF: Do you have any mentors or style icons that you admire and why?
RP: My style icon is David Gandy. He’s always been my reference as a male model. I like his persona, his history as a world class male model, all the big and splashy campaigns he has done... He’s such an admirable and enviable case of success.
 JF: What has been your most exciting or maybe your most disastrous project so far and why?
RP: Modeling in Chile was very exciting, as I had the opportunity to shoot in beautiful landscapes. I remember one day I went shooting on a beautiful beach, such a nice sunny day, blue sky... but in spite of it, the temperature and mainly the wind was very cold that day, and well, that was sort of hard to shoot beachwear in such conditions, but not really a disaster lol. I thankfully haven’t really passed through disastrous projects so far...

Monday, May 4, 2020

meet Pierre François Valette of VALETTE

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Anyone who reads my interviews and reviews knows that I am more or less a classicist for better or for worse. Rarely do new designers catch my eye, but Pierre François Valette of Valette has captured my eye, my imagination and most of all my sense of fashion for the future generations of fashion consumers.
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I have often spoken about designers who tweak the classics and here is a designer who perhaps tweaks it just enough to make them edgy without looking ridiculous or so over the top that the clothes become unwearable.

So here, today, we have the designer who will tell us all about his collections, his modus operandi and just about everything we need to know about the collection and who the Valette man is as well as who is Pierre Francois Valette. 
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To say that Pierre-François has taken a circuitous route to arrive in the world of fashion is an understatement but then again it is possible that it is the exact reason why he sees fashion as he does. So here in his own words is the designer explaining the genesis and rasion d’être for his eponymous collection.
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 JF: Can you sort of give us an idea of how you arrived at the point in your career?
PFV: I don’t know if we can say “career”, I see it more as an irrepressible desire to make something. Having said that, I haven’t had an ordinary education. I have been 10 years in flexible music schedules where I played instruments but also taken part as a singer to various opera productions, notably La Flute Enchantée of Mozart directed by William Kentridge when I was 13 or 14. However, this education gave me artistic sensitivity. This desire to imagine, to create an atmosphere, to relay an idea, an emotion, a message … Then, I undertook law studies which I interrupted after my graduation to join l’École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. I studied there for 4 years (Master 1 Promotion 2018). From the very beginning I knew I made the right choice! After 2 years, I worked a few months at the Isabel Marant’s studio where I really discovered that this job was for me. All this work around creative development, from models to toiles; the attention to details, prints, the functionality of clothing… I didn’t want to leave!
After graduating, I joined Saint Laurent’s studios and the Saint Laurent Fashion Institute, which describes itself as an immersion program in the history and DNA of the Maison Saint Laurent. I discovered the culture of beauty, refinement, excellence … I also had the chance to work with the Ateliers, which are probably among the most competent in the world, and to learn from their savoir-faire and their history. After these few months at Saint Laurent, I won the Saint Laurent Fashion Institute’s Prize. Surrounded by friends and professionals I met throughout my formation and professional experiences, I decided to create my own men’s brand VALETTE, the first presentation took place on January 17th 2020 in Paris.

My desire was to start a personal story that was perhaps time-consuming but just as fascinating! The idea was to get back to the base of what I liked: developing an idea, creating an atmosphere and bringing people together around a project. Fashion is above all a dialogue, and I dared starting it.
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JF: Who is your target clientele and why have you chosen them and why do you believe they are your audience?

PFV: When I started to think about this first collection, I did not have a specific customer in mind. I believe that this is not the first objective for a new brand.

I wanted to express myself personally and show my universe, the look, tell a story ... more than asking myself about customer barriers.
I wanted the collection to be understood as a wardrobe collection with all the pieces needed (jumpsuits, coats, jackets, shirts, T-shirts, vests, pants, overalls but also accessories like gloves, scarves, belts).

The VALETTE look is inspired by the classics, but add a Dandy influence with a modern and sophisticated attitude.
Rather than imagining a specific customer, I always had in mind that I call an embodiment (incarnation in French). It means: an attitude, an allure of a boy I want to dress - what brings out of him and reveals. A head carriage, a wiggle, a way of evolving in space.

The VALETTE boy with the most innocent expression of his face, is daring, adaptable and asserts who he is. He is free: free to be, to surprise and to surprise himself.
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My idea was to imagine for this modern Dandy a “cool tailored suit’ adapted for the modern urban and social way of life. VALETTE clothing is the work around shapes, the cut and the details turned to functionality and fit. I always keep in mind that elegance, simplicity of shapes and colours must be a constant concern in order to create a garment that is both beautiful and useful for everyday life.
VALETTE clothing is the work around shapes, the cut and the details turned to functionality and fit. I always keep in mind that elegance, simplicity of shapes and colours must be a constant concern in order to create a garment that is both beautiful and useful for everyday life.
The objective is therefore not to divide the creative ambition by age group or customer, but to dress a plurality of people to enable the total look or simply to accessorize the outfit.
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 JF: Do you have any style or fashion mentors who have inspired you and why did you select them?

PFV: There are so many! However, I think inspiration happens every day and all the time. It’s a feeling, it changes and you have to work on it. Inspiration is a wish, a desire, an emotion, a smell, a touch … something that is here but evaporates. Imagine how to freeze an idea that comes to your mind for one second before disappearing! I always thought that creation was transmission.

I’m inspired by many things: music, literature, art, poetry, movies… and everyday life. I like to make connections between things that seem very distant. I think the most interesting thing with an idea is when it brings together different inspirations.

I am also inspired by the journeys of many artists from different fields. How they went through life including their joys, their disappointments, sometimes their sorrows - the difficulty to create and for some of them, to live. There is always something to learn from others!

Fashion designers? Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé for their Beauty, Raf Simons for his global design, Helmut Lang for his modernity AND Martin Margiela for his spirit

Other sources of inspiration? Cocteau for his audacity, Chagall for his hope, Ravel for its authenticity, Dali for his enigma, Sagan for her Panache (cf. Edmond Rostand - Cyrano de Bergerac)
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the designer... click  image to enlarge
 VALETTE is the disobedience of elegance
follow him and his brand at