We have seen the roast and now we can say without a doubt that Spiga2's emerging designers for FW 12 are not only talented, but creative people we personally want to get to know.
A personal chat with emerging designers Ophelie Klere and Francois Alary, the minds behind French fashion label, Dévastée. From their first date in a cemetery, their decision to start a fashion lable, as well as their inspirations and thoughts about the fashion system as a whole.
Swide: Your first attempt at fashion making? How did cemeteries connect you to clothes?
Dévastée:When we first met I was 17 and Ophelie was 16. I was already obsessed with cemeteries but not at all interested in fashion. I brought Ophelie in my favourite mausoleum and we spent a magical night. It was spring and it was raining a lot outside. We were hidden in the middle of the beautiful old cemetery in the light of a few candles. A pretty awesome experience, and a great way to start a love affair.
Then came the time to think about what to do with our lives. We thought fashion would be something great. Ophelie loving clothes and me being quite good at drawing things. It was so natural and obvious when we started our own label that cemeteries would become a big part of our common imagery.
Swide:Your first collection was called “My Suicide looked over you”, and after all the name of your brand recalls something tortured, dark, is it a humorist provocation or is being morbid part of Devastee's DNA?
Dévastée:Our first collection was inspired by Sarah Kane, an english theatre writer who killed herself. And about the name of the label, I am still surprised of how many misconceptions it involves everyday. I have never seen this name as something tortured. Thinking about something devastated, what do you see? I see personally a large landscape with fallen trees, a calm sky, silence, nothing moving. It means to me that the storm is over. I see something peaceful in it. Applying it to a person, especially to a woman, i thought this word was particularly mysterious and beautiful. The question is: How to imagine a devastated woman? I imagine someone very very beautiful.
Swide:You said in an interview that you use a lot of references, can you give us few examples?
Dévastée:You know, most of fashion designers, when they create a new collection, they do a "wall of inspiration". They pin so many images of things they find inspiring, and they use them to find new ideas. We don't do that. Our walls are covered exclusively with my drawings. Our inspiration comes from words. It's our creative process. Our way of working on a common project. We read so much, travel a lot and talk constantly. That's why there are so many references in our collection. It's a bit difficult to find precise examples. It's about our memories, stories we hear, the house we live in, and books. Many books. Ambrose Bierce and Lovecraft are recurring reference.
Swide: Is Devastee the epitome of intellectual snobbery?
Dévastée:Yes. Absolutely. First because we talk about death in the simplest way. We don't make it dramatic, horrific, mysterious, we don't even make it gruesome, cynical, provocative. We are not provocative persons. We deal with it as anybody could see it. And especially as a child could see it, without knowledge. Because anyway, who has any knowledge about death? We have only traumas. We try to work on the subject matter avoiding traumas and pathos. We don't want to shock, we don't want to deliver a message, we just want to make beautiful things. We do pretty clothes. We work on very specific ideas and our own way of seeing things, but in the end, with Devastee, the result has to be pretty clothes. It's a very snobbish, as nothing is obvious.
Swide:Your FW 2012 collection is, citing you, full if hidden messages, can you reveal us some?
Dévastée:They are very difficult to explain. For example there is a rebus but it's in french: Ile noeud faux pas paon C A la mort A vent 2 se cou CH Haie
(impossible to translate!)
Swide: What is the ultimate Devastee must-have item from the FW 2012 collection?
Dévastée: So many items, but the knit part is very very interesting.
Swide: Define in three adjectives the Devastee woman?
Dévastée: I'd say she's much more complex than that. You could not define it with only 3 adjectives. That's why we called the label Devastee.
Swide: Soon there will be the Devastee man... three adjectives?
Dévastée: You know, the name of the men's range is not Devastee: it is Après la mort. (with a smile in the O)
Swide: How do you feel about celebrities marketing your designs by wearing them?
Dévastée: We have refused to lend clothes to many of them. It's not our way of expression. It's an extremely vulgar system anyway, so we prefer not to think about it.
Swide: Lately fashion has developed on the web, the pr, digital marketing via twitter and so on, how do you relate to this evolution? What about the brand Devastee itself, what direction is it taking digitally?
Dévastée: Twitter is extremely vulgar. We don't believe in fast ideas and stories. We don't even believe in too much communication. Because in fact it's not about communication, it's just narcissism. Narcisism is ok but not for everyone.
Devastee has a temporarily abandonned website. Facebook is easier, even if we don't manage it personnally. I prefer tumblr. Tumblr is funny sometimes.
Swide: Can you tell us the mood of the collection we find in Spiga2?
Dévastée: The selection available at Spiga2 is the heart of the Devastee mood: very graphical, strangely chic and macabre.
Swide: What remarks can you give us from your experience with Spiga2, how did you feel about your involvement in it?
Dévastée: Spiga2 is a very important place for us, because there are only a few shops in Europe that can carry and give sense to such precise and specific pieces of our collection. Usually, the european market is more quiet, they want trendy things or classical things. At Spiga2, they follow their own path, their vision, and they give us the opportunity to fully express what we have to say.
Interview by: Acelya Yonac
Watch the Dévastée collection here: