Guillaume Henri: “I always ask myself the question: does the world need another dress?”
“Fashion has become too serious. I wanted to bring back the joy and feeling of a holiday to this scene, as it was in my childhood, when I watched television reports on the Paris House couture. “I want to see smiles on the faces of models and create clothes for real people: for my cousin in Dijon or Parisian girlfriends who love to dress up.”
Based on such postulates, the 41-year-old designer Guillaume Henri writes a new chapter in the history of the legendary Parisian House Patou. For more than thirty years, the brand forgotten until LVMH paid attention to it in order to obtain title to the name for its new Christian Dior Joy perfume and at the same time expanded its portfolio of historical brands.
Guillaume Henri, an industry veteran and graduate of the Parisian schools of Duperré and IFM, is not the first to come up with a strategy for a House with a rich history. After working for Givenchy and Paul Ka, Guillaume headed Carven for five years, and then stood at the helm of Nina Ricci for three years.
Leaving the brand in 2018, Guillaume did not immediately think of returning to fashion. And, as he himself admits, he did not even dream about Patou’s proposal. His appointment happy coincidence: the head of the LVMH fashion division, Sydney Toledano, arranged a friendly meeting for him in one of the brasseries of the 16th district, in the bourgeois Passy district.
During the rendezvous, Henri noted that once, “while walking around the Passy cemetery, I accidentally found the grave of the great Jean Patou.” He could not be stopped in conversations. A stunned Toledano invited him to lead Patou.
“Among ourselves, we only say: “Patu! Patou! “There much joy in this name, and fashion for me story about emotions.” So the first thing Henry rejected the name of the founder, and now instead of Jean Patou the brand called succinctly Patou. Then he transferred the sunny mood to Instagram – one of the main means of modern communication.
So we all met a gray fluffy cat named Patou and admired the postcard views of Paris. And then Henry held a private presentation during the Fashion Week in September of the very first airy dresses, striped jumpers, beige trench coats, denim for all occasions and witty T-shirts in the brand’s atelier on the island of Cité, a stone’s throw from Notre Dame and the Department of Justice.
“I have been looking for the right place for us for a long time. They showed me a lot of rooms – and all the time something was wrong in them: either too far, now too crowded, then too little sun. When I ended up in this 18th-century mansion, where once a lyceum for girls was located, and then a casino, I immediately realized that I had found a house for Patou. It was dearest at first vision. ”
Patou operates on a startup basis. “I do not want to be looked at as an old house. We are Young“We are only a year old, but we have an experienced soul.” A team of 30 people, emphasis on couture techniques at affordable prices and innovative solutions. For example, all things, according to Guillaume, sewn in Europe from the most reliable and non-polluting materials on the planet. You can learn more about each model by scanning the QR code on the tag. “Working in fashion today is responsible for every word. I always ask myself the question: does the world need another dress? “No clear seasons and pre-collections.
Everything built on four drops per year for 60 things. Guillaume called them romantically, as in a theatrical play, acts. “When everyone else shows the coming spring in September, I present to you my choice of things for the current season, which will go on sale in a couple of months.” Henri has his own herobooks in his lookbooks: the favorite models of Suzy and Ann, who went with him from Carven and Nina Ricci; and the most loyal apprentices – designer Alan, cutter Pauline, pattern designer Sophie, who also follow him step by step over the past ten years.
Guillaume Studio works on the principle of open doors (“If something goes wrong, everyone will be in the know”), where each member of the team feels irreplaceable. “The first thing you see when you come to our house an atelier. Usually it’s customary to hide them behind luxurious corridors, but I, on the contrary, want everyone to know without whom my fashion house cannot exist. ”