“COLLECTIONS CAN BE SMALL AT THE BEGINNING. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU DON’T KNOW PRECISELY HOW TO PRODUCE EVERYTHING, MAKE IT SHORT, CONCISE AND SIMPLE.”
Looking at designers who just graduated and want to start their own thing, do they need to concentrate on skills like making the perfect cut and finishings? Or is this something you think the customer doesn’t care so much about anymore, and instead it’s all about creating a ‘look’?
It’s about having your own style, creativity, research, cuts. The rest comes afterwards.
Do you always approach the designers for l’Eclaireur or do they approach you?
If you call here and ask for the menswear buying, they will give you my email. Most of the time I do everything via e-mail, because it’s much easier, as opposed to having people come to the shop directly.
What’s the most important thing designers should keep in mind when they approach you?
You need pictures, because talk can just be talk. You can talk about your ideas as long as want, but if I don’t have any pictures, no garments… You can talk about collections for years and have very different ideas about what it really means.
Do you have any advice for designers who are just in their first seasons? What they should do or not do, what to concentrate on?
I think they can start to stick to one thing they know, something they really like. At the beginning, the designers could start to listen to everyone and change their mind, because professionals are saying that the market will change in a certain way. This is crazy. Designers are supposed to be having a kind of style and image. Forget about the market at the beginning, because if you start being subject to change that quickly — acting on what shops or fashion people are telling you — then you can turn crazy. Imagine someone who is listening to all the buyers from the shops: they are going to have 20 collections! [Laughs]
I think collections can be small at the beginning. For example, if you don’t know precisely how to produce everything, make it short, concise and simple.
So if someone approached you with just five dresses, do you think that’s a good strategy?
If it’s five shirts, yes. If it’s one shirt, one dress, one coat… it’s a little bit more difficult.