Being introduced to the “Christophe Josse” fashion house at the last spring-summer haute couture fashion week, I fell in love with both –designer and the brand. With designer because Monsieur Josse embodied the beauty of France and national style and with the brand because the clothes designed by Christophe closely represent his character. The interview with the couturier was scheduled for midday in his working studio, located in a very center of the Parisian fashion district – rue Saint Honore. It was snowing all morning, something we already got used to. The was opened by the young attaché de press, who kindly offered us some coffee and was entertaining us with a small-talk while Monsieur Josse was finalizing a meeting with one of his customers. Suddenly a door to the adjacent room swings open and the designer appears. Sweater over the shirt, jeans and slightly tired eyes – Christophe looked almost the same when we left him 2 weeks ago at the show. “Apologies for the delay, but the client is very demanding. Let’s start?”
Where did you study? Have you worked in other fashion houses before creating your own brand?
I studied art history for three years in Paris, something I consider to be mandatory for the understanding of the fashion, followed by one year in stylisme. Then following an internship at Louis Féraud fashion house I started working with Torrente.
The history of the brand: how did you get the idea to create your own couture house, when was it created?
I presented my show (haute couture) three and a half year ago supported by the Japanese. Then we settled here, at 231 Rue Saint Honore, approximately 2 years ago.
What is the most characteristic feature your style?
Perhaps a desire for exaggerated femininity, something very light, the act of composing a slender, somewhat fragile and very subtle silhouette.
What are your major sources of inspiration?
They are actually several. The last season collection takes its inspiration from English novels of the nineteenth century, notably those by Jane Austin; a few shots from the movies as well, and ultimately my own memories, symbolizing my perception of a period, my references, my interpretation of that. The prism of personality transforms reality, it’s not a historical reconstruction, I’m not trying to create a costume for a theater or a movie, but I draw inspiration from ancient times, a story.
Do you follow the trends?
This is mandatory, if you follow them are part of this world, just go into the street – they are implicit, then it’s more what you feel, according to your style, your individuality.
Your Spring-Summer 2010 Haute Couture collection was particularly “wearable”.
The novelty of haute couture is that it is “wearable”. Haute couture of oversized volumes is an obsolete vision. The garment on a hanger, although beautiful, but that no one wants to wear, I find useless, unattractive. On the other hand, to offer a couture dress in which a woman can imagine herself, a haut couture she would like, for me it seems much more contemporary. Dresses for dresses … it brings nothing to anyone.
You present two lines (ready-to-wear and haute couture), what is the major distinction?
The work on haut couture is mostly the needlework – this is a craft, it requires much time and investment (the materials are often very expensive); this does not preclude the haut couture from being “wearable” but is technically difficult to produce. The prêt-à-porter however requires fewer investments and time; it is more ‘mechanical’, ‘industrial’ so to speak.
This spring-summer 2010 haute couture collection was a real success. Do you envision new possibilities, to open stores in other countries for example?
Undoubtedly I consider this perspective. In a more immediate future, I would not limit myself to the haut couture which remains very elitist and private.
Are your clients mostly French?
We have an especially wide range of French clients, lawyers, bankers, business women but also have more “exotic” loyal customers mainly from the Gulf countries – Saudi princesses fancy evening dresses.
Apart from fashion how you spend your free time?
I have a house in Marrakech; it is not so far from Paris. In just 3 hours by plane you will find yourself in another universe with a different perception of time, another vision of the world populated by palms, different people, different noises, different sounds, different colors – it lets me escape a bit.
I spend most of my time in the studio, this business requires an investment of 200% of your time, otherwise it is not going to work.
In your opinion, what clothes a woman should absolutely have in her wardrobe?
They are all in my collection
I would say… a tuxedo – it can be worn in a countless number of ways, with nothing underneath, or with a blouse, accompanied by a pair of jeans to give it a contemporary look. It is fairly easy to wear and will never go out of fashion – this is a good investment.
White… a white blouse gives a very fresh side, it can be paired with many things; a blouse over jeans-jeans is the basis of the wardrobe of a girl of today. Or with broad pants from my collection that gives a whole new way to keep a relaxed yet chic appearance.
Interview taken by Tatiana Stolyarova and Rodion Denisyuk
Photo credits: Luuk Magazine / HauteCoutureNews