Inspired by Loic Prigent and Mademoiselle Agnès’s TV show on emerging fashion talents, Art is Alive decided to pay more attention to budding designers. A fair question to ask is who is the next generation of French Designers? Maxime Simoens seems like one of the most promising designers. Here’s the fascinating discussion with the young designer at the head of his own label.
When was your brand born?
A year ago.
Who, from the fashion or “creative world” do you take your inspiration from?
Designers who explored a sense of modernity such as Vionnet, Lanvin, Courrèges, Cardin and Mugler, but also modern and contemporary artists such Vasarely, Olafur Eliasson and Jeff Koons.
Are you originally from Paris? Can you tell us a bit more about your background please?
I was born in Lille. Since childhood I was attracted to painting, drama and cinema. Following ten years of acting classes, I wanted to study film making. To have a chance to get into this school, I had to make a portfolio of projects describing my world which as a result, I spent more time drawing than expressing it through words.
But it was at Madonna’s 2001 concert, that I realised that fashion was my vocation. Jean Paul Gaultier was also an inspiration and I bought his book on Madonna’s costumes. At that precise moment I gave myself my first goal: to work for him… which I reached 4 years later!
After passing my exams I went to Lyon to study fine arts. A year later I joined the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.
I then worked for fashion designers including Elie Saab, in the accessories department for Jean Paul Gaultier and finally in the embroidery section at Christian Dior. Subsequently, I joined the studio of Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga where when it came to inspiration, embroidery and prints were my main tasks.
Can you tell us about your latest collection?
It all started with the kaleidoscope idea, infinite combinations of shapes and colours, a childhood marked by the thirst for striking images.
As we were making progress on the collection, the death of Michael Jackson affected me a lot. He was the Icon of my youth and I remember dressing like him, i.e wearing a wig and a glove. I would actually not be too literal. I would just take inspiration from the cut, the colours but also the brightness of his garment.
What do you think about French Fashion’s scene?
It’s the right balance between New Yorker minimalism and the sexy Italian and English extravagance. French designers have a sense of chic and elegance.
Have you had any support from any other fashion figure?
The making of the brand was made by our own experiences, but from my first presentation, journalists such as Mlle Agnes or Lawrence Dombrowicz strongly encouraged me.
What are you expressing through your designs?
I hope to achieve timelessness, and a garment which goes through the ages is a real challenge. Making a difference with the others but do not become excessive!
Are you showing at Paris Fashion week?
Yes, during the Prêt à Porter week, the last presentation took place in October.
What projects do you have upcoming?
The presentation of the Winter 2010/2011 collection in March.
Where can we find your designs?
We are distributed in France (Cannes and Paris) via Maria Luisa and Suite 114, and in the rest of the world: in Italy by Luisa Via Roma, in Germany, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, U.S., Canada, Japan , Russia and even Uzbekistan.
To finish with, what would you wish to this blog?
A sumptuous and creative life filled with beautiful vibrations!