Julie de Libran Couture Fall Winter 2021 – 2022 at Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture

Paris is justly famous for the endless creativity of its fashion design. But creative ideas are nothing without a small army of highly-skilled artisans who can bring them to life with needle and thread. These artisans get less public attention than the famous designers they work for. But without them and the long tradition behind them, Paris would never have become the world’s fashion capital. My current collection is meant to celebrate these“petites mains,” as they are known in France. Their Savoir faire and their dedication amaze and inspire me every day. They represent the most basic values of my brand: quality over quantity, timelessness over trendiness, and the belief that, with a little help, a great piece from the past can live again.

In my new collection, I have taken as a starting point several of my previous designs. Then I called upon some of these remarkable ateliers. I have known most of them for two or three decades. Working together, we have transformed these pieces into something new, fresh and different.

A dress I call Gilda is enlivened with a kind of cotton lace called “broderie anglaise.” My Charlotte dress has been rejuvenated with intarsia lace to create transparency in the neckline that wasn’t there before. My Elizabeth coat dress is refreshed with jeweled buttons. Seeing how you can add beauty to something by transforming it and make it new has delighted me.

In some cases I used dresses already produced for past collections and turned them into new, unique pieces with the help from the Savoir faire around me. In other cases, I have returned to a previously-designed pattern and re-imagined it with a new fringe here, sequins there, sometimes feathers. If there is a theme running through the new work it is movement.

These new designs now rustle, glitter and flutter. But what is important is that nothing is lost, which is another of my brand’s most important values: avoid waste. I am pleased to see that the fashion industry is increasingly coming to embrace this principle. It is something I have espoused all along.

There is another thing I believe in deeply, and that is to do what I can so that these precious artisanal skills do not disappear. They are a fragile treasure and they must be passed on to the next generation. For this collection, I called upon several students of the Instituto Marangoni’s Paris campus to help me. When I was learning my craft many years ago,I was fortunate to study at the Istituto in Milan. I am now the official “godmother” of the school’s Paris branch. One of the embroiderers I work with here in Paris took several students under her wing, and together we worked on a few pieces in this collection.

That is the way the transmission of precious knowledge is supposed to work.

all images courtesy of Julie de Libran

photographer : Luca Tombolini

 Video : @zak_timetoseefilms for Time To See Films

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