You know you’re taking with someone not scared of breaking with conventions when he can evoke the 16th century queen of France Catherine de'Medici, Mexican graphic artists and street prostitutes all in the same conversation -and it makes perfect sense.
French fashion designer Edouard Lecouturier (yes that is his real name) is doing rock glam at a whole new level of sophistication. “I’m a fan of history, prints, I like the rock, trash, street, everyone is doing dark and I wanted to do something else,” he explains.
And while many of his looks do evoke a gothic aesthetic, the level of quality, the attention to detail, the fabrics and volumes unite to provide an overall impression: one of luxury.
As a former model Edouard spent over ten years touring the world and discovering the backstages of beauty, fashion and creativity. “I’ve always loved working with my hands, drawing, painting, I love fabrics, the touch…” he tells me. “When I was in US, I brought a camera, and started taking photos, beauty, esthetic, hair, makeup, dressing. I had always wanted to be a stylist, ever since I was little, but that demanded an investment in schooling, expensive schooling.” It was through observation and experimentation that he trained himself in fashion.
Collaboration for Creativity
Edouard is creative director of the brand, and works in close collaboration with a team of designers and pattern makers to bring his visions to life. The label is run by Romain Berger. “I met Romain three years ago through friends who work in the industry, and he proposed that we create a brand.” Working in this set up allows Edouard to design freely without the pressure of financial or production concerns inhibiting his creative process.
“I have no role in the creation, it’s my role to step in a re-oriente. I ask the questions: will it sell? Is the design direction sustainable? is it beautiful? I provide an overall framework of the direction to follow and then Edouard and his team do what they want to do,” explains Romain. ”My role is to take the pressure off by taking on the responsibility, if I approve something and an error is made then it's one me. So the creative side stays pure.”
Designs for the New Identity of Femininity
“Today street fashion dominates, the idea that someone will change their outfit three times a day is outdated. The woman of today now transitions from day to night by changing their shoes and grabbing a clutch,”
Explains, Edouard, and it’s this very modern woman he has top of mind in his creative process.
The Devil in the Details
The print featured on cropped sweatshirts is of a modern pencil-line portrait of Catherine de'Medici drawn by Mexican artist Paoula Tortillia. de'Medici embodies the occult and the esoteric for Edouard. The phrase “The truth is, not one of us is innocent” is laser printed in mirror-image across the graphic rendering.
Ethnic boheme, street luxury, rock rebel urban, it’s hard to define the silhouettes proposed by Edouard Lecouturier both strong and feminine there is something fragile and something punk that works in harmony. Accessible pricing, with a production entirely made in France and with details like laser-cut lace panels that are structured into an elegant bomber jacket with a waterproof zip usually found on deep sea diving suits. The pieces are like individual works of wearable art.
Why settle for what’s on offer when you can create your own? That’s the attitude that has lead Edouard to create his own materials, such as the original fringing that is tubular rather than flat strips of leather, “it reminded me of the scooby doo sweets (long stretchy candy) we had as children, and it just falls better,” says Edouard. This playful material is platformed in the first of a line of accessories, and is featured on bags and cuffs.
Post-modern Beauty of Mixed Identity
“One of the big advantages of this collection is that the pieces can all be dissociated,” explains Romain, “you can change completely the looks, but the brand DNA stays the same.”
Edouard’s collections can be worn as a total look, and some of their fans in Japan or the UK adhere to this, but in France the pieces are more often sold as individual pieces to be mixed into a high-low dressing dressing style.
“Women who mix it up are so beautiful, seeing women express themselves by how they dress is wonderful: high-street jeans, one of my sweaters, a bag from the competition, that’s new luxury. The beauty is in the mixity. It’s all about creating an identity: that’s what feminine means to me today, identity and strength.”