Join us as we go to Vincent Garnier Pressiat’s Parisian speakeasy to meet and greet the new-wave designer and discover some secrets behind his debut collection
Vincent Garnier Pressiat is an extravagant being. Simply calling him on Zoom for this interview, I was amazed by this anomaly, this captivating aura that reached out to say hello through the screen. Sitting on a cheetah printed couch, he’s wearing a gold embroidered bolero, paired with a laced leather pant, and the largest faux-fur hat ever. Casual. “The bigger the hat, the bigger the personality.”
His grandfather was a tailor, and his mother, a fashion teacher. Vincent was pretty most born into working within fashion and he began designing his own garments at a young age.After graduating from the Chambre syndicale de la haute-couture school in Paris, he took over some of our favorite fashion houses, designing for the likes of Saint-Laurent, Balmain, and even Margiela artisanal with King Galliano himself.
Body language says a lot about someone. So with the chicest of hand gestures, smoking cigarette after cigarette, Vincent took us on a joyful journey, decrypting for us the depths of his creative process, unveiling the spirit behind his first collection “Diamant de nuit.”
Fräulein: Vincent, what are your inspirations for this collection?
Vincent Garnier Pressiat: The outfits were especially very inspired by the prohibition era of the 30’s, when codes were reinterpreted and deconstructed, through collar details or zazou pants, rather large jackets worn tightened with very wide pants and hats. And the staging of the show is completely boudoir in its spirit. The reflection behind this collection comes from the fact that we are currently experiencing a new prohibition in a way. I decided to play with it. I also mix the codes of dandyism and the Victorian era. I made, for example, thigh-high boots with a lot of buttons, and chemisette inspired four-sleeve shirts. I also dive into the Pretty Boy universe, with lots of black and white and a very punk side full of safety pins.
Prohibition is also the Roaring Twenties, which brought me to integrate in Paul Poiret-silhouettes, drapes, sequins, bustiers. I also created a lot of my own materials, especially with tights, to create a very tight, corsetted silhouette that represents the suffocation and the loss of freedom of movement that we are all experiencing at the moment. The silhouettes are close to the skin, almost like a snake molt, due to society suffocating us … The see-through quality is revealing a new skin underneath the garments.
The silhouettes and the materials that you create bring a very couture aspect to the collection. Would you qualify this as couture?
VGP: I would say a little bit, yes, I really like working on very specific elements and details by hand, but I try to bring in some very simple and sober pieces as well in the end. But it’s true that I really like the artisanal side .. This is something that I have always loved, and after my role at Margiela Couture, it is something that I have worked on a lot.
How would you describe your creations? Your style?
VGP: Chic provocation! I have always appreciated provocation, but with an idea of elegance, remaining Parisienne in the end. Think Pigalle or Strasbourg-Saint Denis where you can meet people who are more rock: very chic at the top, but a little smashed at the bottom.
Your mentors and inspirations count great figures such as Catherine Baba and Michelle Lamy. Can you tell us more about their guidance and inspirational influences?
VGP: So it all started thanks to the Manko cabaret. I have always been a big supporter of Marc Zaffuto, Emmanuel D’Orazio and Manon Savary – the artistic directors of the Manko Cabaret, this crazy-amazing place. I made friends with this team, and that’s why we find the likes of Julie Demont and Mimi Maxwell on my catwalk, who were original showgirls at this cabaret. It was there that I was able to meet and befriend Catherine Baba and Michelle Lamy. They are women who very much love this universe of dance, of provocation, of freedom. Catherine Baba has always inspired me with her very boudoir, very vintage style. Think of the Saint-Ouen flea market or Cabinet of Curiosities …
As for Michelle Lamy, she is a woman who has always inspired me with her stark and dark sense of aesthetics. I have a rather dark side to my style too. Michelle is such a kind and humble person, in complete opposition to what her style might suggest. I am also a visual artist, and I started to collaborate with her to illustrate an interview in this high fashion talk magazine .. It is at that moment that we began to exchange ideas, and she also supported me through all my creations simply because she loved my style and universe. She has always inspired me with her anti-fashion side. She doesn’t follow rules. I love that.
Is it important for you to be surrounded by strong women?
VGP: What could be better than surrounding yourself with strong women ?? Especially these kind of women, that have balls! They are leaders!
Who do you imagine wearing your clothes?
VGP: Everybody! From 15 to 80 years old! For me, my clothes are about asserting your personality, to give strength. That’s why there are a lot of shoulders, dark colors … I want people to feel strong and I want everyone to feel good in these pieces. I would love to see a totally crazy granny with one of my big coats go and buy her bread. I would love to!
Extravagance is all over your designs. Would you consider yourself extravagent?
VGP: It’s very me! I didn’t want to lie. It is a controlled extravagance, where I try to find a balance with more simple designs because i still want my collection to be wearable.
Your collection has quite an ‘evening wear’ aesthetic to it is a way. What could our readers expect from the privilege of a night out with you?
VGP: A lot of things, but above all, a lot of laughter. And it is true that my collection reflects a night wardrobe in a way… The night has always inspired me. We meet people in the night that are different from the daytime, and I like to awaken that light, that inner spark which is completely smothered by the half-light of society that makes us become sheep. At night, people dare, and shine, and reveal themselves.
What would you and your friends wear to go out?
VGP: First of all– platform shoes. Always platforms! And a lot of transparency lacing leather. And definitely a hat, any hat, I like all hats! But going out with me is also being yourself. Everyone comes with their own style to dance in the lights. I love to surround myself with artists and high-personality friends. They are my biggest inspiration.
Do you think your creations are made to reveal bodies or to cover them up?
VGP: I find that revealing the body is also covering yourself up! Daring to show it and dismiss modesty is protecting yourself in a way, to feel good about yourself. To assume that showing your body means being confident with yourself is a way of protecting yourself with your confidence rather than with your clothes.
Your aesthetic made me think of a mix between Paris and Berlin. Agreed?
VGP: Completely. I really like the universe of electro and the clash between trash and chic. But always with elegance!