As the new artistic director of Lanvin, Bouchra Jarrar, talks exclusively to L’officiel Middle East on the inspiration behind her first collection for the house.
You may not have heard of her until now but Bouchra Jarrar’s fashion credentials are impressive. In the past, she has worked at Jean-paul Gaultier, spent a decade at Balenciaga (under Nicholas Ghesquiere) as well as honing her skills at Christian Lacroix and Scherrer before she founded her own Haute Couture label. Her style is clean, classic and inspired by the shapes of the 50s and 60s. After a state of flux following the departure of Alber Elbaz from Lanvin, she is quietly taking control of the famous fashion house and making her mark. What are your impressions after a season with Lanvin? Does it all live up to your expectations? This first collection has enabled me to set out my vocabulary. It announces the new Lanvin style, the style I’m working on for the Lanvin fashion house. For you who are methodical in your work, has it been difficult to establish your style amongst a team that has worked for so long with another artistic director? Method allow for precision and it’s with precision that I have worked with my teams. Using method I am able to bring coherence to the various lines in my collections. In your own words, what defines your first collection with Lanvin? This first season at Lanvin is an opening. I’ve been exploring the paths of sensuality and intimacy, building clothes around the body, unveiling and veiling the silhouette. I’m searching for the essential and harmony. I love to dress women, to reveal their inner selves, to make them feel sublime and to cross borders between femininity and masculinity. Hence a wardrobe which shall evolve and echo itself from one season to the other. What are your first memories as a fan of Jeanne Lanvin’s fashion creations? What do you think of her as a woman, a designer and a business woman? Jeanne Lanvin was a visionary woman, a woman who constructed both her designs and her fashion house. She was a woman of incredible modernity. You were a business woman who ran her own fashion house for over six years, what was that experience like? Today I am focussed on my job as artistic director for Lanvin. My product and organisation vision is an additional asset for the House. In today’s luxury world, is it difficult to establish an inimitable style, particularly within a context where social networks have globalised fashion, distributing it massively at an accelerated rate? It isn’t difficult to establish a style when one preserves “authentic” creation, by that I mean creation born of the imagination and of artistic vision. You have already worked with several great names in fashion. How have you managed to make your own style, and how does it now combine with that of Lanvin, a fashion house with a rich heritage and history? Because it has always been an exercise in style, with respect for the various visions that I shared with the designers I have worked with. It is possible only with respect. My style combines instinctively with the Jeanne Lanvin style, which concentrated on structure, just like I do. What are your first memories of fashion in general? What aspects or people motivated you to undertake a career in fashion? My first memories go back a long way, because I always wanted to work in fashion. My style has been forged by my creativity, which I have been developing from the very beginning. It happened through meeting with the great couturiers and designers in books. All those who make up the history of fashion. What is your creative process? And particularly when deadlines leave you no time to perfect each one of your ideas … My process starts with materials; a methodical approach and a sure, controlled organisation ensure that deadlines are met. What will be the next stage for you at Lanvin? What are your dreams for the next collections? To make them come true by presenting the strong inspiration I feel in a harmony. On a more personal note, how do you spend your time outside of the workshop? I spend it with the people I love, my nephews, my family and my private space. Contemporary art, music, reading. How has your life changed since you arrived at Lanvin? My life has become more intense, it is concentrated on Lanvin, a name that I absolutely love.