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 

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