The designer behind rationalised luxury, Louise Porche
Louise Porche is a French designer educated at the Geneva School of Art and Design and Beaux-Arts in Toulouse. Describing her work as rationalised luxury, she designs with a focus on the quality of the materials and avoids unnecessary ornamentation. Interestingly, Louise Porche's designs are also unisex, as she describes gender equality as not just a fad, but a "necessary and natural evolution". To find out more about this avant-garde designer and her plans for the future, read the interview below.
How did you get into fashion?
I have had an affinity with sewing since I was a child, therefore my fondness for fashion design came quite naturally. My grandmother was a seamstress at a time when ready-to-wear did not exist yet in the French countryside, and so I always saw her working on the sewing machine at and making garments by hand, which left a lasting impression. Crafts constitute a cornerstone of my artistic identity, I like to manipulate the material to obtain an object that I have entirely manufactured.
How was the experience of studying at Beaux Arts and the Geneva School of Art and Design? Do you have a preference over the two?
Regarding my education, integrating the Fine Arts School allowed me to enter the worlds of artistic creation, academic research as well as design conception and production, photography, video, visual arts, paintings, and the work of the matter. I acquired a certain taste for versatile work and the desire to always exceed my limits.
I validated my BA in product design with jury congratulations, then I joined the HEAD in Geneva in the Master’s degree “Fashion Design and Accessories”. Having studied art and sociology has helped me to approach clothing more critically than only in terms of aesthetics. I was able to define a new way of thinking about the garment market and the trend, in which authenticity would have its place. Self-taught in the field of clothing, I started to build my Master’s degree collection entirely from my hands. Thus I was able to confront all the stages that constitute the implementation of a collection, and met my will to know my creation from every angle.
I would not give preference to any of the two schools, because their ways of thinking about creation are, in my opinion, opposite. One emphasizes ideas and reflections, while the other turns to technicality. For me it constitutes a global journey, experiences that complemented each other.
Tell me the story behind your graduate collection Revêtement.
This collection was the pretext to reflect on the history of clothing and universal dress. The confrontation and superposition of these stable forms, whether in time or across cultures, allowed me to practice a slight reformulation of the ready-to-wear garment. I like to mix different influences, to create and think outside the box, as my everyday life wardrobe shows as well. My philosophy is based on reason and balance. I focus on the quality of the materials and I avoid ornamentation if there is no need. I speak of rationalized luxury: the art of the little, the measured gesture, the restrained expression, the sincerity. The originality of my clothes comes from the reformulation of details and the mixture of various cultural origins. I like the kind of brutality that gives off a well-controlled simplicity.
What’s one of your favorite pieces from your recent graduate collection?
The set of silk chiffon shirts show the essence of my thinking most visibly. It is a very simple piece to understand. Nevertheless, with the repetition of the shirt instead of the skirt, its collar becoming a decoration of the hips, the sleeves hanging nonchalantly in the void, the whole design becomes absurd. And this brutality of the absurd is softened by the very pale yellow, the Peter Pan collar and the superb fall of this silk. It's all about the details.
Why did you decide to make your pieces ‘genderless’?
Concurrently with my creation process, I devoted 6 months of research on the history of the garment. I wrote a Master thesis in which I discuss the gendered appropriation of a streamlined appearance, through the prism of the tailor suit in the first modernity. I love to cultivate the different facets of my personality, and masculinity is an integral part of it. I think that gender equality is a necessary and natural evolution, not just a fad.
My research work served as the basic inspiration for my collection and still has major influences on my work.
Do you think you will start your own brand?
Yes I think so. Keep in touch.
If you could give advice to up and coming designers, what would it be?
Do not forget yourself and your story, do not pretend to be someone else.
What helps you find inspiration for your designs?
I am a great observer, I spend a lot of time looking at people, their behavior and the way they wear their clothes.
Who’s the person you look up to most? Favorite designer?
I could give so many answers, I do not have a particular mentor, I learn from everything and everyone around me. I do not like to reduce my interests to a particular style, period, or single person, even if it they are a genius. Nonetheless, I can name a few people whose work serves for me as a timeless lesson because of their precision in understanding the body, like Azzedine Alaïa, Madame Grès or Yohji Yamamoto.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?
I see myself in my sewing workshop, surrounded by my bazaar, in the middle of the tranquil countryside.
Want to see more from Louise Porche? Check out her Ocotur.