There’s always a certain feeling when discovering your first collection. Especially if he is successful like Alain Paul. The 34-year-old young designer, who has nothing “young” in his knowledge of his art, will hold the first fashion show for his eponymous brand on Saturday, September 30, at the heart of Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris Fashion Week. After dreaming up his clothes for a year, Alain Paul was ready to enter the big leagues when I met him a few days ago at his studio-turned-flat in Paris. That’s because the kid with shoulder-length blonde hair and a delicate voice has been frequenting the famous big leaguer for several years now.
He was one of the participants in the VETEMENTS adventure together with Demna in 2013. From the emblematic artistic director who is now president of Balenciaga, Alain Paul learned what it means to design a garment and build it from start to finish. Four years later, he moved to Louis Vuitton and joined Virgil Abloh’s studio. “I learned freedom with Virgil,” emphasizes the artist, who accompanied the American creator until his sudden death in November 2021. The disappearance of the art director stands out as the trigger for Alain Paul, who later decided to fly on his own and founded his brand. with her husband and partner Luís. Together they create the label in a few months: While one handles the commercial side – Luís has extensive experience in the industry, having worked at Colette and several showrooms – the other focuses entirely on the creative side of the project.
“When I found myself in front of my pen and paper, I asked myself this question: ‘What do I want to say now? [mes vêtements]’?” Citing Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang as protective figures, the young man returned to his first loves, deciding to focus this first collection on ballet and dance more generally. “I wanted to choreograph clothes,” this former dancer, who studied at the Opera École Nationale de Danse in Marseille before studying fashion, told me movingly. “Dance is my first source of inspiration because I love the seriousness of this discipline and creating based on its rules.” Alain Paul’s ultimate reference is Igor Stravinsky’s ballet. Rite of SpringIt was created in Paris in 1913. Quite naturally, he chose to show his first show on the stage of the Théâtre du Châtelet, called the “premiere” in reference to the first public performance of a show and, of course, his own baptism of fire as artistic director of his own label. And we must admit that this first show was a real success.
Impeccably constructed tailoring
In fact, it is rare to see such a definitive mastery of creative techniques and know-how displayed in a debut collection. Alain Paul knows very well what he is doing (a little too well, in fact) and he showed it today. Her impeccably constructed tailoring was inspired by the dancer’s traditional wardrobe. Men’s trousers, for example, come from dance corsets. And white or black leotards emblazoned with “Alain Paul” on a variety of men’s silhouettes are available as newfangled tops. The intricate and colorful shoes were designed from dancer slippers and took the typical square shape at the toe. In terms of materials, there are a lot of them here (denim, leather, satin) and they can be combined infinitely to create uniform and extremely stylish clothes. The shoulder pads of the costume jackets are wide to resemble the dancers’ protruding collarbones. Layering prevails, with the color black being the main commonality of most silhouettes.