Florent and Lea
Photographers Florent and Lea are the creative geniuses behind the Paris-based womenswear brand Fou. Inspired by the fashion of the late 1970s, the brand features all the classic designs you would've expected at a night at Studio 54; bright colors, bell bottoms and oversized shoulders. Here to speak about how their brand is bringing the disco style back with a modern and sophisticated twist, is an interview with Florent Vindimian and Lea de Bartillat.
Who is a typical Fou wearer?
A modern, joyful and eccentric person.
Fou means crazy in French, why did you choose to name your brand this?
I think the perfect translation is mad, because the project is born just like this without prepartion, because we want the people to wear colors and crazy designs. Also the expression “C’est fou“ means something awesome, something different.
You and your cofounder are both photographers, why did you decide to launch your own fashion brand?
After seeing so many lookbooks and campaigns shot, being at the heart of the industry made us curious about creating something that we could manage from A to Z, from creating the designs, to making and shooting them.
Do you think it was more difficult going into fashion with a photography background, or did this help?
Obviously we had to learn the basics of couture, but we have experienced people working for us.
I think that being aware of how photography works, how you can enhance how the outfit looks, and control your whole brand content is a huge benefit. I think people in fashion have a lot of respect for the photographers and videographers who create the perfect space for their outfits to exist, because at the end of the day, everyone is looking at the pictures.
How do you and your cofounder differ in terms of what you bring to Fou?
That’s a tough question! Basically, Léa is more involved in the designs and Florent is more involved with the pictures, but this is not necessarily always the case. Florent brings something different, especially in this collection, that comes from elsewhere, from his trips in Africa, from his vision of a modern West Africa.
Léa has a great vision of the outfit, she has been interested in fashion since she was a young girl, she can define all the fashion eras really well, she’s a good photographer too, and she fell in love with the way west Africans were dressing when we met in Ivory Coast.
Ultimately, our own limitations are compromised by the other's skills, so, in the end we are influencing each other equally.
What’s one of your favorite pieces from your collection?
I love the Simone look. The oversized jacket with long flare trousers, the green print on this one is crazy, really defining the first step of FOU. I also like the crop tops and chimney collars!
What is about the 70s that inspires you?
The freedom, the liberty of creation and that the world was unaware of ecological problems made the 70s a nice era for creation, everything was possible. It was a time for discovery and exploration.
If you could have any celebrity, dead or alive, wear your pieces, who would you want it to be?
Shelley Duvall, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill or Fela Kuti.
What helps you find inspiration for your designs?
Old Courrèges stuff, our trips abroad, a lot of movies!
When you’re in a “creativity rut”, what helps you to get inspiration?
I think that old movies or discovering an old photographer we didn’t know about are our principal sources of inspiration, from Fellini’s movies to Jean Rouch’s documentaries and so many more.
What can we expect from Fou in the next five years?
New collections, same recipes, new pictures, new fashion movies, using different types of medium but still a lot of analog films...Always looking for modern campaigns, still 70’s influenced.