Representing the creative future

IFM BA 2022: Cerebral fashion that digs into the personal

Discover the collections and sketchbooks of the first generation of BA fashion designers graduating from the Institut Français de la Mode

With a runway overlooking the Seine, the Institut Français de la Mode opened its doors this Monday, to host its first-ever BA show catwalk on campus. The class of 2022 consists of a variety of individuals, ready to spread their wings and fly. Having no other than Brigitte Macron herself attend the show in the same row as Isabel Marant, Sidney Toledano, and Bruno Pavlovsky it was clear that the captivating creations attract a variety of spectators.

“You know, IFM is like a family,” says Alma Rodriguez after the show. Everyone is supporting one another, listens to their ideas and helps them transform the sparks into reality. Looking around the crowd, an alumnus says how much he misses this. This special atmosphere is born at the core of fashion education. The daily exchange of ideas. And the feeling of passion in one’s chest when the creativity flows. This is what makes IFM so special- a world of fashion within the capital of fashion.

Showcasing 32 collections, the students invite the viewers into their creative universe. From themes of modern dystopia to the total disruption of gender norms. As the first BA fashion generation graduating from IFM, the class made history in one way or another. Wherever they may go, may their hearts always remember the warmth the school brought them and the relationships they made and keep forever.

David Zhao

For David Zhao, the process started in the painting. “At the time, I was looking into a lot of landscape art, feeling particularly drawn to the lens of surrealist and dystopian landscape art,” he says. His collection TERRAR SUBTERRANA. UNEARTHLY RUPTURE! SKIRMISH! INCARNATE! is a modern translation of apocalyptic landscapes depicting our dark reality. Drawing from surrealism references, the designer did not only create a world of his own, but he is also now inviting everyone to find themselves in it. “For this collection, I’ve made around 12 looks in total. I worked with a lot of different mediums,” he says. Inspired by a series of worldly and unworldly artefacts, the designer felt drawn to the usage of 3D printing, exotic and sustainable leather whilst keeping his innovative construction techniques at a high standard. “Every look represents a certain fragment of contemporary technological and historical phenomenon.” One of the main inspirations for the collection was the dragon scales from the Song Dynasty painting “The Nine Dragons Scroll of Chen Rong” from the 12th century. “It has a very long scroll of around 11 meters, and it shows a very dystopian language of dragons. It’s really apocalyptic. Many of the silhouettes and materials reflect the paintings I looked at. For example, looking at the painting with the dragons, I started looking into fish leather”, he says. Throughout developing his collection, the designer kept questioning the state of vulnerability in the fashion industry. His intrigued mind pushed him into new spheres, by collaborating with ICTYOS for sustainable Fish skin, Desserto for sustainable leather and Siyu Wu, a 3D artist. Dyed with sunstrokes, the designer reflected the effects of climate change on a deep level not only in the outlook of his garments. “In hindsight, my story is still very much based on prospective pessimism surrounding societal imbalance and the worldly overview of humanity. The collection hints at the situation with climate change, sustainability, and technology in the grey zone. It promotes wellness, but also excretes caution.” In his world, imagery of subterranean black rivers meets flaming white mountains, ashen mist under unearthly hanging gardens. Stepping in from outer space, he wants his collection to be a hieroglyphic time capsule for aliens that may descend on the earth one day.

Yann Chiflet

Time passes, but some things last longer. Garments and fabric scraps are storytellers, explaining a reality that is so far off the present. Usually, the memory of the past is rooted in nostalgia. It’s that funny feeling that makes us long for a different reality, in another day and age even if we didn’t get to live through it. “My collection Never Before Never Again is inspired by the fashions of the 1950s and 60s. To me, I portray a certain idea of the past, but without any nostalgia”, says the designer Yann Chiflet. In his collection he conveys his own vision of a past. It’s not a place that we escape towards, it’s a different version of reality, leading to a potential future, he says. To communicate this through garments, he is reinterpreting the wardrobe that belonged to his era of inspiration through versatile silhouettes and synthetic action. “It’s like a collage of memories and feelings”, he adds. “Time is an inevitable factor when speaking about the past. It opens doors of memory and brings together eras, style preferences and clothing. It is about defining and reinterpreting a wardrobe, through hybrid silhouettes”. Clothing is about memory. It’s about the dress that makes our hearts beat faster, the jumper that makes us feel loved or the certain pieces that evokes a memory of a loved one. “It reminds us of the feeling. Right down to the cut- of a loved one’s garment.” A glimpse into his sketchbook takes us into spheres of Balenciaga’s modernity, juxtaposed with the swinging sixties and Erwin Wurm. It’s about blending and creating, not escaping.

The hats of the collection were made in collaboration with Tania Marcela Garcia and Daniel Arias. The shoes of the collection were made in collaboration with Agathe Pornin.

Alma Wuttke Rodriguez

For the first time, Alma Wuttke Rodriguez had the feeling that she could perfectly finish a collection. Prior to her graduate collection She played the game, all collections felt like diamond in the rough, whereas this time, it feels like a precious polished one, the designer recalls. “My project is very personal. In a way, it kicked off as a personal analysis of provocation, not on a sexual level, but more on a sensual level. It’s about sensuality, desire, and attraction. Those special feelings,” she says. “In a way, for me, the best way is to work through the medium of clothes. What was really important to me was the model casting.” Alma’s models have character. On the runway, they represent a force of strength and power. Dressed in nuances of leather and golden jewellery, they carry the spirituality off their feet. “I look for more alternative characters. I wanted to truly get to know them. I took the time to meet them and understand their character. I wanted to know who they were and why they wanted to wear my clothes. I wanted them to understand what they are wearing,” she says. It’s a personal study of the body. Alma studies her muses, inch by inch, until the vision aligns. “I’ve always had this obsession with a very specific silhouette. In a way, in this collection, I was finally able to explore this further. In the collection there is one certain line, guiding through the story like a red thread. It is emotional for me. This is my invitation to women to explore and connect with their inner goddess.” Alma has a way of elevating beauty in a spiritual manner. When she first met her models, she wanted them to walk the way they do. And that’s how she knew if they’d be the one. “Throughout my life, there has been a quote by the poet Rumi that kept crossing my way. The quote says- somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden, I will meet you there. In a way, with my collection, I want to show that there is more than just right or wrong in this world. I want women to connect with themselves, find their inner tranquillity, their core essence.”

IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Alma WUTTKE RODRIGUEZ​​​​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Alma WUTTKE RODRIGUEZ​​​​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Alma WUTTKE RODRIGUEZ​​​​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Alma WUTTKE RODRIGUEZ​​​​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Alma WUTTKE RODRIGUEZ​​​​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Alma WUTTKE RODRIGUEZ​​​​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas

Theo Nedelian

In his collection Abysse, the Parisian designer Théo Nedelian works through his feelings about his hometown. “I find that living in a metropolis is brutal, yet I have always lived in Paris. You know the city never sleeps, there is constant traffic noise and passers-by”, he says. To narrow his concept down, he felt inspired by the Metro. “There is such tension in the subways every morning, everyone avoids looking at each other, even the slightest glance is considered an offence. My collection is my vision of society, amplified and exaggerated.” To visualise this, he thought about the characters he sees on a daily basis when he commutes to school. “You always see the same types of people. For example, I wanted to represent the rigid figure of the banker, who wears the same thing to work every day. I wanted to show his tailored shirt, his straight pants and his polished shoes. All these codes are mocked with disproportionate shapes, draped around the body”, he says. “My main inspiration was photographic series called Tokyo by Michael Wolf”. The photographer merges artistic excellence with a sense of lifelessness. It’s about drowning in the crowd, becoming one of many instead of one in many. “His artwork touched me so much since it was so reminiscent of the scenes in the Metro every morning.” Unlike poetry, this collection does not romanticise everyday life- it sees it for what it may be for many banal and sometimes monotone. The designer wanted to uplift this thought, transform it into visual satire and bring some lightness and humour into a landscape full of seriousness.

Manon Olsson

The skin is our protection to the outer world. It holds us together in a way. It can be seen as living history, telling stories with birthmarks and scars. Inspired by this thought, the French-Swedish designer Manon Olsson created his graduate collection, A desirable wrinkle. “The skin is both synonymous with vulnerability and protection. Clothing can be seen as a second skin, yet lacks in durability”, he says. “In parallel to that, we live in a watered-down and hygienist society. Isn’t there anything more precious than the defect, the wrinkle, the proof of life in ageing? And is vulnerability the new axis of desirability of an object?” the designer asked himself. His collection is drawn by the uncertain and the natural. “These questions did not only inform my collection on an aesthetic level through the use of emaciated knits, fragile lace and latex. The materials create tension between one another. They also pushed me to experiment and develop a new ecological material, from which all the jewellery is made of. It is an eggshell-based bioplastic, which is stimulating soils and repelling parasites after being replanted.” Similar to the human skin, the egg has a protective shell, which can be used in a second way in this collection. Inspired by the work of Eva Hesse, the designer found beauty in the natural way, questioning our postmodern perceptions of desirability.

Vincent Park- Heritage

“For this collection, I was inspired by Korean cultural heritage that is not stereotypical and unravelled in a contemporary way”, says the Korean designer Vincent Park. His collection is quite literal- named heritage, it is redefining the meaning of its title. “I have always been interested in experimenting with a new concept of clothing, which transcends the existing order and function of clothes.” Instead of gravitating toward the stereotypical, the designer wanted to explore a new, maybe lesser-known side of his heritage. “Instead of taking motifs from traditional clothing, I chose mundane objects from the past and gave them a new perspective by playing with contrasts”, he adds. Our lives are drawn by contrasts- day and night, hate and love, the past and the present. “I wanted to explore the coexistence of the conceptual and the wearable within my collection”.

Nicolas Pham

Nicolas Pham’s creative universe in Harmony of Contrast is focussed on his identity. “It tells the story of my quest in finding unity and harmony in contrasting thematics such as culture and gender. I wanted to find a way to represent the fusion of both Asian and Occidental worlds and the balance between masculinity and femininity- which all represent my being”, Nicolas says. “Both my parents left Vietnam at an early age, my father migrated to the US and my mother moved to France. Being a Vietnamese product of immigration, and having been raised in a western lifestyle, this journey was a way for me to discover more about my Asian heritage and its characteristics.” The designer is using clothing to tell the story of his being- in all modern fashion it is about him and finding the balance between feminity and masculinity. “My collection represents a collective of androgynous men wearing garments that were in society’s eyes intended to be worn by women. I remember being five years old and wanting to wear my sisters’ dresses. I didn’t want to become a girl, I enjoyed the way they made my body look. The same scenario applies to my garments today- the meaning they have is so much stronger than the gender they associated with.” Inspired by Vietnamese Ao Dai robes and his own experiences with body dysmorphia, the designer is merging his heritage with his vulnerability to find peace within the seams of a collection.

Michael Sallaz

In all GenZ manner, the French designer Michael Sallaz dedicated his graduate collection Soul Space to the deconstruction of the gender binaries. “I wanted to break the stereotypes of masculinity. Men have often been asked to be manly, strong and to hide their emotions. I think that this discourse is outdated in our time”, he says. In his collection he wanted to reinvent what it means to be a man today. In a world where the possibilities are endless, who do you chose to be? “I wanted to define the man as more sensitive by taking inspiration from the classic female wardrobe”. Inspired by the world around us, the designer felt drawn to the beauty and delicacy of flowers. It represents a key side of the new man- it transforms bluntness into poetry. Designed in the middle of the pandemic, the designer found a creative refuge in his hometown of Annecy. “I was inspired by my daily life there. Digital spaces were very present at that time. Between classes and long-distance drinks we learnt to create new living spaces”, he says. That inspires his colour range- minimal but vibrant, just like the feelings we experienced during covid. Elevated by the wonderful climate of his hometown, he wanted to highlight the sunny days he got to experience as an ode to the simple things that bring us joy.

IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Michael SALLAZ​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Michael SALLAZ​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Michael SALLAZ​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Michael SALLAZ​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Michael SALLAZ​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Michael SALLAZ​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Michael SALLAZ​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas

Thomas Tavertini

Mostly the everyday is taken for granted. The moment we sip our first coffee, the moments when the wind rushes through our hair or the endorphins we feel when we see a loved one. Thomas Tavertini dedicated his graduate collection Moving through to contrast to the everyday, he says. “My collection is my embellishment of the everyday, the quotidian, through European and American historic references”. Being raised in an American and French household, the designer wanted to reflect his upbrining in his collection. “In my collection, I wanted to communicate a familiar wardrobe, putting a lot of emphasis on common clothing items: the hoodie, the t-shirt, the jeans et cetera. I wanted to rework them and have fun with them”, he says. The title of the collection is born of the war between the codes of everyday life and the embellishment through his references.

Allan Zermatten

What is my relationship to my clothing? Is it loving, respectful or relentless? Rhetorical questions full of hidden meanings. The Swiss designer Allan Zermatten asked himself these questions in order to create this collection. “My instinct has always let me think about it. Observation has taught me that everyone observes or ignores themselves as they please. Looking at someone’s appearance invites the viewer to meet a person,” the designer says. It is about the way we see things, the facts that influence our eyes. The starting point of his collection was a photographic reportage the designer started compiling in May 2021. These images are used as a tool; as an ever-growing reference for the designer. “I did not wish to confine myself to a caricatured subject, of which I would have gotten bored off very quickly. I decided to explore my capacity to nourish a process throughout the year at IFM.” His collection and creative outputs reflect the conversation around daily life- the small precious moments that we tend to take for granted. “Equipped with my phone, my gaze sharpens and becomes more discerning as my steps slow down to capture the coveted motifs. I focussed on perceiving the urban sceneries as landscapes animated by silhouettes, prints and textures.” Yet still, there is no direct translation between the photographs and the clothing- what drives the designer is the mystery and poetry of the unknown.

Martin Montels- Papi

Beyond the city’s skyscrapers lies a world full of sun, where the birds chirp every morning, away from all the business. “The concept of my collection is essentially a mix of the life in the city and the life in the mountains. It’s where we look for adrenalin”, says the French designer Martin Montels about his graduate collection Papi. In his creation process, he looked through a variety of mediums, but ultimately found the spark when he looked at the big alpinists. “I felt so inspired by them and how they explored the world of the mountains. I have also been very inspired by analogue photography which I took on the streets of Paris during the night.”, he says. For his future, the designer wants to merge the worlds that inspire him the most- fashion and film.

Lucenda Libretto

“My concept is all about creating an empowering collection for my people by making the contemporary Black royalty of my dreams a reality”, says the French designer Lucenda Libretto. Her collection is a manifesto of power in its purest form of beauty. “But my goal was not only to create a feeling of supremacy, but it was also to bring joy, fun, playfulness and campiness to my sisters, brothers and siblings.” She wanted to speak to a great number of people- this is a collection for the masses. To translate that into garments, she decided to speak about hair. “If there is one thing that connects and brings all the different black communities from all around the world together, it’s hair”, she says. Inspired by European and noble fashion from the 17th and 18th centuries and streetwear, the designer merged the past with the contemporary. “I also included my own Black hairstyles references to bind it all together and create hybrid pieces. I ended up designing hairstyles that are outfits and outfits that are hairstyles”.

Mouyakabi Diomande

“My collection Gnemea is an introspection, it’s an ode to my parents’ culture, that I inherited”, says the French designer Mouyakabi Diomande. Interpreting his parents’ heritage and fusing this with the European culture he grew up in is at the core of the collection. Most of his references are to be found in the most personal of all places- the family photo album. “I have always been fascinated by the way my parents were able to adapt to the European lifestyle, so I decided to look at it on a larger scale. I wanted to look into how the African Diaspora created a subculture all over the world by blending into the environment where they ended up. I was inspired by the movements they created- hip-hop, classical art, or even counter cultures like punk”, he says. All those influences shaped the multicultural generations growing up in the diaspora all over the world. Mouyakabi’s approach is about storytelling. Not just his story, but the ones of many others as well. “It is the idea of these countries being linked together by their common stories and us being the final product of it all, without blaming or glorifying it”.

Antoine Pilli

In his collection Boys in the better land, Antoine Pilli worships the figures that raised him- women. “This collection is a testimony about growing up with women, being educated by women. This education allowed me to be in touch with my female side”, the French designer says. In a world dictated by toxic masculinity, Antoine is voicing what we might need. “As a man, the female side is often hidden or denied. Admitting and admiring it is a big strength. This goes vice-versa for the male side in females. Those sides are mostly hidden, since especially a lot of people associate femininity with weakness.” The designer is facing reality in all its glory and invites us to do the same in order to bring you to a better place. Inspired by early 1900s Jacques Fath’s dresses, 1950s Balenciaga and late 1990s Lee McQueen, Antoine wanted to translate the Met Gala dress code into the male wardrobe. “I was taking the power of a celebrity wearing a crazy dress and translated that into the male wardrobe. I wanted to play with both codes.”

Hanwool Cha

Why do we relentlessly search for beauty when in most cases, it is right in front of us? The theme of Hanwool Cha’s graduate collection titled Unawareness, invisibility, connection and Beauty is about the beauty of the streets. “On May 1968, there was a huge protest in France, and the streets were lined with things that you normally don’t see. For example, there were broken structures, angry citizens, and burning cars. I kept wondering how those streets are different from now”, the Korean designer says. He questioned the true beauty of the streets and how it is perceived in our day and age. Is it in real life or on the internet? “The things that inspired the collection aren’t the trees, flowers, gardens or beautiful buildings. The things that inspired me were Garbage, broken objects, cigarette butts, pigeons or the hidden connections of people who passed by during the day.”

IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Hanwool CHA​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Hanwool CHA​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Hanwool CHA​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Hanwool CHA​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Hanwool CHA​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas
IFM BA FASHION SHOW INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE LA MODE Hanwool CHA​ PARIS JUIN 2022 ©Guillaume Roujas

Ines Pieri

Clothes wrap the body. They can hug our flesh, or in some cases, constrain it. “During this BA degree at IFM, I developed a strange obsession with clothes that constrain and restrict the body. I loved the way the object has control over the human,” says the designer Inès Pieri. Mirroring her feelings towards society and life, she wanted to visualise the constraints around her. “This collection is my outlook on this world and a lot of the issues going around. Creating this final project at IFM was like therapy- since we went back to school after lockdown, I needed something thrilling in my life.” Inspired by everyday people, the designer sees the beauty in the ordinary. “I was inspired by the typical businessman who spends his entire life working in an office and who wanted more money at the cost of his personal life. I also felt extremely inspired by the ordinary woman, the victim of many societal norms imposed by this society, just because she is a woman”, she continues. She was very stung by a 19th century womenswear garment, named “La Visite”. “This was worn in a day and age when women were only allowed to raise their arms when they said hello. I found that crazy.”

Mia Engel

Paris is a place full of beautiful architecture and carries the reputation to be one of the most romanticised places in the world. But in Mia Engel’s collection Néo Nomade, the designer asks herself the question of what would happen if Paris, the city of lights, became a desert. “The Sirocco blew this year, and it came to settle the sand of the Orange Sahara. From Tangier to Paris, two cities close to my heart, I imagine the capital burned, Barbés the oasis of this new desert,” the designer says. Her IFM collection visualises 6 neo-nomads crossing Paris on the sand of her roots. “Initially, I was inspired by the technical clothing that allows me to cope with extreme conditions. Those clothes allow carrying without tiredness. Then I felt inspired by the men and women of the desert- more specifically the Berber culture that refers to my Moroccan origins. I like the idea of hybridization between a technical and a traditional garment.”

Eliott Farny

In his final collection, Eliott Farny wanted to speak to as many people as possible. “I was inspired by Michael Lau, Murakami and Ashley Wood. I wanted to give each of my silhouettes a personality to make them more personal and remarkable,” he says. Struck on the idea of personalities, the designer wanted to explore the idea of narrow visions. “The idea is not to please everyone. I want to question if this is a permanent feeling that society aimed at us. We put people into boxes- from rich to poor, from ugly to beautiful.” With his collection, the designer wants to question these norms and disrupt them, so as many as possible can see their identity in it. “All these categories influence our vision of another. It creates discrimination or what “normal” should be. Personally, I have never belonged into any group and do not want to fit into any mould.”

Brooke Druen

“Long story short- my collection is about psychedelics,” says the American designer Brooke Druen. Aminata Obscura is a visual exploration of how psychedelic experiences can influence and shape one’s personality. “It all started when I got very fascinated by psychedelics and their effect on the brain last summer. I got really deep into mushrooms. My partner and I started to grow our own mushrooms, which was a very interesting process to observe.” For the designer, this was a transcendental experience. “The universe just opened up; an extensive experience. I had these images of memories with my friends that I really wanted to include. The experience brought a lot of understanding- it’s extremely therapeutic in a way. The designer, who specialises in knitwear knits her experience into the garments. Using the partial knitting technique, the loopholes cause an interesting almost transformative visual effect, making the viewer transcendent into a new sphere of self. She knits her own vision of reality, dyed in colours reminiscent of joyful times. Brooke is flipping the script on psychedelia, using clothing to create the same effect that they have on our brains- opening up our minds in order to reach a higher sense of self.

Zoe Gerolymos

For some people, clothes are art. For others, they are items of practicality. “For my graduate collection at IFM Randonnée, I wanted to focus on the practical and useful aspect within clothing,” says the French designer Zoe Gerolymos. “I wanted to come back to the initial utility of clothing, which is to cover the body. What we communicate with our clothes these days, leads inevitably to judgement from others and ourselves.” Inspired by James Laver in Allison Luries “The Language of clothes”, the designer was inspired by a specific sentence: “Clothes are inevitable. They are nothing less than the furniture of the mind made visible.” Within the pages of this book, the designer found the initial spark of inspiration. “This book inspired me to create my collection since it raised the very important question of whether clothes can still be solemnly used to simply cover ourselves.” From this thought, the designer developed a collection inspired by practicality, inspired by military uniforms and hiking garments.

Marie Pasquiet

“My collection Malibu Coconut Club is about ultra femininity and how the viewer understands it,” says the designer Marie Pasquiet. She was inspired by how women have been exploring their femininity in the past 30 years and how the definition of “bad taste” interferes with the vulgar, she says. “I dedicated this collection to all the women who wear too much makeup, who wear short dresses and who wear high heels.” Symphonies of pink merged with references reminiscent of the early 2000s, resulting in a hyper-celebration of confidence. “I have always been inspired by elder women and how their style evolved over time. I got intrigued by women who were 70 years old and not being afraid to wear leopard skirts, pink high heels and being Kitsch. I love the stereotype of the old lady covered in makeup and fake nails.” What does it mean to be a woman today? And why is age such a central yet detrimental factor in a woman’s life, even if it is the most natural thing we do? “I asked myself why a lady who passed a certain age is socially chained to grey pleated skirts instead of the opportunity to explore her freshness and femininity.” Merged with Kourtney Roy’s photographical references and a touch of the 60s, the designer brought age back into fashion.

Benjamin Alcover

Benjamin Alcover’s collection Cover B is inspired by a world that couldn’t be further away from the classical definition of fashion- the world of cars. “My collection is inspired by cars and the link between the body and carrosserie,” he says. The designer has particularly been taken away by the Mini Austin, made in 1971 and the VW Beetle from 1953. Merging the two worlds, he created a collection that wears the spirit of the car inside out. Leather covers the body like a comforting seat with a touch of modern punk. “The film Crash by David Cronenberg (1996) was my big inspiration. What struck me was the deconstruction of the car-related to themes of sexuality. This inspired me to create a strong silhouette, representing the car crash within a womenswear context.”

Mathys Da Costa e Sousa

Bro Leon is an homage to the designer’s origins. It is a love letter made out of fabric, worshipping his story. “I think of my collection as a sort of homage to my origins. I grew up in Brittany, which is situated in Northern France. It is a culturally rich area with conservative traditions. I wanted to pay a tribute to the region that gave me everything,” he says. To dig deep, the designer went on to get to know the soul of his hometown. Via conversations with elders and the visual support of photo albums, he slowly created the vision for his final collection at IFM. He went to the local libraries to discover the history of the place that shaped him in his being. “In this collection I have a lot of references about the old times, the fishing sailors, the inhabitants in poor towns and the dancers.”

Marvin El Hijri

“The idea of the collection was it to deconstruct the gender stereotypes in our current society,” says the French designer Marvin El Hiji about his graduate collection Time to suck my Queer. “It is very personal. There are so many new possibilities for people today in a carnal and spiritual way.” To bring this to life, he pushed the body and the mind in a new direction to create what he calls a living canvas. “I wanted to articulate the notion of Pandrogene in my collection. Pandrogeny is a movement created in the 1970s by the artists’ Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jane. This movement entailed the complete modification of the body until two bodies look alike. This process was usually conducted through surgery and tattooing,” he says. In his collection he celebrates whilst deconstructing gender in a new way- why should we choose between binaries when we can be anything we’d like to be in this world?