5 QUES­TIONS WITH CHRISTOPHE GOINEAU

The Peak (Singapore) - - Fashion -

This year marks Christophe Goineau’s 30th year with Her­mes. As the cre­ative di­rec­tor of Men’s Silks, he over­sees the de­sign and cre­ation of all the men’s ties and scarves by the French lux­ury house. Here, he shares his thoughts on the chang­ing ways in which men ac­ces­sorise, why the scarf is the new tie, and how clients never fail to sur­prise him.

01 WITH DRESS­ING GET­TING MORE CA­SUAL, DO MEN STILL WEAR TIES?

In gen­eral, the tie busi­ness is go­ing down, but ours is sta­ble and grow­ing – slowly. Peo­ple are buy­ing fewer ties to­day, but they buy for plea­sure, not be­cause they have to. Pre­vi­ously, they bought maybe five ties each sea­son – now maybe one or two, but they se­lect them care­fully, and to re­flect their per­son­al­i­ties. In­ter­est­ingly, we’re see­ing younger men buy our ties be­cause their fa­thers no longer wear them, and they want to be dif­fer­ent.

02 HOW IS DE­SIGN­ING MEN’S AND WOMEN’S SCARVES DIF­FER­ENT?

Scarves have been big busi­ness for Her­mes for many years, but men’s scarves are (rel­a­tively) new. For the men’s scarves, we use dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als – not shiny ma­te­ri­als like silk twill, but in­stead a cashmere and silk blend, which is matte, and not slip­pery, so it doesn’t move around. The scarves are also larger – 100cm by 100cm, in­stead of 90cm by 90cm. So, men can just wrap it around their necks without hav­ing to tie knots. You al­ways have to make things easy for men (laughs).

03 TELL US ABOUT THE DE­SIGN­ERS YOU WORK WITH, SUCH AS DAISUKE NO­MURA, WHO CRE­ATED THE FLAM­BOY­ANT WEB DE­SIGN.

Her­mes has its own in-house de­sign­ers, such as Henri d’Origny, who has been with Her­mes for 50 years. We also work with many free­lance de­sign­ers. Daisuke is a Ja­panese tex­tile and graphic de­signer, and we met when he en­tered a con­test we held with (de­sign web­site) De­sign­boom.

Con­tes­tants were asked to imag­ine what the Her­mes tie would look like in 20 years. Daisuke cre­ated a de­sign fea­tur­ing a skele­tonised ver­sion of our logo – we couldn’t pro­duce it be­cause it’s over the top (laughs), but we cre­ated an Au­dac­ity prize for him. I told him he would be wel­come to cre­ate other scarf de­signs for us. We’ve been work­ing with him since 2009. We say that scarves are the new ties, be­cause the vo­cab­u­lary around the two prod­ucts is sim­i­lar: It’s some­thing we wear around the neck, and it’s about pat­tern, colours, and some­thing that makes you more el­e­gant. We have an app called Silk Knots, to show men a few dif­fer­ent ways to wear a scarf. This helps to show peo­ple it’s not that com­pli­cated. When they know how to wear it, they will try more pat­terns and colours.

05 WHAT’S THE MOST SUR­PRIS­ING WAY YOU’VE SEEN SOME­ONE WEAR AN HER­MES SCARF?

I re­mem­ber see­ing a very el­e­gant, very old man wear­ing one of our scarves that had a bold pat­tern and bright colours. I would not have imag­ined some­one like him wear­ing that. And on the op­po­site end of the spec­trum, some­times you get young guys wear­ing very tra­di­tional pieces. I be­lieve you cre­ate some­thing, and then that ob­ject will meet some­one. First, we try to sur­prise our clients – then, they sur­prise us.

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