Christopher Josse‘s fashion journey began when he joined Louis Féraud as a design assistant. His namesake collection was created in 2003 and he has since been awarded the label of Grand Couturier in January 2011. The influence of his education in Art History is unmistakable as elements of Romanticism and Classicism are visible in the elegant gowns and strong, sinuous silhouettes. In his interview with Popspoken, he reveals that the imagery imprinted in his mind whilst studying Art does get subconsciously chanelled into his designs.
For Christopher’s Autumn -Winter 2012-2013 collection, a smorgasbord for different personalities was presented to the audience. In the first set, the idea of a gentle, feminine ingénue comes into mind with the ruched detailing of these chiffon gowns. The delicate gowns swept the ground and similarly, the feets of the audience.
Next up, the feathery details added rustic charm to the otherwise minimalistic, pure outfits. The gradated deep purple to white furry skirt resembled a flurry of waves, as the model strutted down the runway. Her gold-toned neck collar is an inspired touch to the avant-garde outfit.
Following that, we see the sophisticated, streamlined silhouette emerging. More use of gold are seen in this outfit as the circular buckle neatly divided the proportions of this outfit, such that the models’ legs were visually elongated. All this was balanced by the weight of the feathers on her shoulders and the structured peplum finish around her waist.
Finally, these 2 black numbers would surely attract the more assertive, strong individuals. The rounded, defined shoulders paired with modulations of black and leather-croc finish screams power and control. At the same time, Christopher’s use of his signature gold belt buckle adds the perfect dose of feminity by defining the waist. Subtler details such as the silver zip that runs from the start of the turtle-neck collar to her knees adds to the linear modernity and unifies the outfit.
Before his show for French Couture Week 2012 (part of Fide Fashion Weeks), we were given the opportunity to tap into the mind of this fashion guru. Christopher was preoccupied with perfecting the fittings of his models and his schedule was extremely tight, so we were deeply honoured that he took the time off to speak with us.
Skii: You had a degree in Art History, how do the ideas of Art and History play in your mind when you start designing a dress?
Christopher: When I studied Art History, I learnt to design and draw silhouette figures. By the time I felt that I might be ready to design women’s clothes, it came quite naturally. All my studies are very thorough – and my knowledge of Art created images in my mind, which I subconsciously used when designing clothes.
Skii: What are your influences then and now?
Christopher: My main influences were the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s. I respect many architects as well and get a lot of information from the things that happen around me.
Skii: What are the rules of Haute Couture that you adhere to and break away from?
Christopher: I require workmanship and details for the garments to satisfy the client; and to give them the excellence of the work. Sometimes to win time, not everything is sewn by hand. The underneath of the dress can be done by factories which gives it a modern touch.
It’s not the time I spend on the clothes that will make it Haute Couture – it’s the quality of the work. So if I can save time on something, that’s important.
Skii: Suzy Menkes commented in her latest article for the International Herald Tribune that designers have become commodities and she analogized this to professional sports where players are bought and sold. What are your thoughts on this?
Christopher: Yes, that’s absolutely right, but designers and haute couturiers are not always the same. Because a lot of designers will work for Gucci, Givenchy, Dior – they change – but for me it’s another story, because it’s mine. It’s my house.
Money gets involved in moving one designer to another house. I create the house, so for the moment, there’s no way for me to go somewhere else. It’s really a story that begins just with the brand Christopher Josse. There is no investor that will make me do something I do it first, so it will be my own story.
Skii: How do you see your brand developing in 5 years?
I have created my 3rd collection of ready-to-wear thus far, so hopefully my brand will grow as it’s really something nice and quite different in Europe. In 5 years, we hope we will still be back here at Fide Fashion Week but maybe with a solo show! (Laughter ensues)
Skii: Is there anyone in particular you would like to see model your clothes?
Christopher: It’s more of a question of personality and fate. I don’t have one person in mind that I want to dress. When I meet someone there’s a feeling – so if there is the right feeling than it would be great.
More photos of his collection can be viewed here.
For updates of Christopher Josse’s new collection, check out his site.