Haremza by Marguerite Denimal: Chaotic Beauty

vor 2 years

Finding beauty around us is not easy at times.

French fashion designer Marguerite Denimal finds beauty in daily life, which she romanticizes in her work. Marguerite, Daisy for her friends, is a romantic at heart. She speaks in poems and weights off every sentences with a long silence at the end, giving every word a meaning. Marguerite is a new kind of romantic: direct and powerful. She carries the legacy of a working-class upbringing and applies it to her designs with the dream of dressing a new type of men with her label Haremza.

What is Haremza?
Marguerite Denimal: Haremza is my grandmother’s maiden name. She was a working-class woman, she originally from Poland and my grandfather from Italy. They were both immigrant workers in Northern France, but she had this thing of turning everything into a fairy tale. She wore silk, did her hair with a perm and wore makeup everyday, she decorated her house by painting each room a different color. Her trick was to embellish everything, even if it was cheap, the important thing was the illusion of living like a princess, even without money. Haremza has become the name of my brand, and I have taken this concept and made it more personal to myself.

Tell us about your latest collection “Je fais du bateau dans mon quartier”?
MD: This collection was really about the idea of ​​making life look better, but I applied it to menswear. Taking bad boys from the 90s in the USA and pasting them into the fairy tale I wanted, to make it identifiable and true. I really enjoy telling stories with my creations more than thinking about selling products. This vision of men was my dream, a reality where men dress in a more extravagant and sensual way. This dream I applied to a rather poor universe, that’s why I use cheap, recycled materials to create puffed sleeves. The idea is ​​taking the imagery of the Renaissance and reinterpreting these codes with the means at hand. It also comes from the need to create on a small budget.

What are your biggest fashion influences?
MD: I would say that my biggest influence in terms of designing is Alexander McQueen. But subcultures that inspire me are really figures of the 90s: Men like Biggie and Tupac, because they had ideas that were super ahead of their time. So many rappers are stuck in a toxic virility cult, but already in the 90s Tupac had hyper advanced ideas and was already talking about ecology and more. In the end it were mainly influences in terms of personality, that inspired me to transcribe this through a designing style. The same goes for McQueen, who came from a working-class background and whom I also admire for his mentality, he still remained authentic even in such a superficial environment. I have this image of him as someone very human, even a humanist. It’s something that kind of makes me dream about seeing creatives, who are more loyal to their ideas than to money.

If you had to describe your artistic signature, what would it be?
MD: My signature is the use of a particular color range, mostly ivory or beige tones, and the mixtures of materials, that do not necessarily correspond with each other. I don’t want to expand my brand and want my work to remain true to the values ​​of slow fashion. I want to continue producing with deadstocks and old curtains, that I collect from flea markets. I work according to my feeling and I like being able to have imperfect finishes, giving my creations a rag-patch look. I have often been criticized for my finishes, which were said to not be clean enough and that they seemed involuntary made, but I love this messy side. It’s my challenge to create something noble with what I can find.

Where does your use of beige tones come from?
MD: It’s a color palette that I called “Impure Whites”. I like to use all colors that start from white, but have a naturally soiled effect, it can go all the way to brown. It is this desire to represent something pure and immaculate but to be confronted with this reality in which it does not exist. A purity that is stained. I’m so used to working with these colors, that I’m drawn only to them. Even in my personal style, I can’t really wear bright colors anymore, so I stay on neutrals. I buy a lot of fabrics n flea markets and when I get home, I assemble them in patchwork to create a fabric that combines different materials, I assemble the colors that speak to each other to create a piece.

Can you share literature that inspires you?
MD: Amélie Nothomb! Her books speak of realistic situations, but in very raw ways, exposing the dark sides of humanity, but always speaking of love. It’s this fairy tale aspect in a situation that is not necessarily easy, that inspires me. She needs fiction to survive, and I find that very beautiful, her vision is very unique and it is good for humanity to be confronted with the thinking of someone, who thinks differently to us, because it shows us that all is just perception. I recommend reading “Peplum”, because it echoes the current situation a lot. It is an anticipation book that is based on an apocalyptic version of the eruption of Vesuvius in Pompei, preserving the beautiful and showing that humanity is more attracted to the beautiful, than to the good. I agree with that myself. Another book that I think of is “Journal d’Hirondelle”. It’s the story of a hit man, who falls in love with one of his victims. This feeling of love for this dead woman gives a sensitivity to violent manhood. It’s quite beautiful.

A dream to realize?
MD: To find my place.

What else is next for you and your brand?
MD: I am currently looking for ways to finance my project. I sell prototypes as a kind of crowdfunding and seek to travel to meet small artisans, with whom to collaborate on my project. The professional experiences I had in the fashion industry made me feel out of place, they lacked the human side, I felt in a parallel world. I need to make my own choices.

Text by Marien Brandon
All images Courtesy of Marguerite Denimal

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