Charles de Vilmorin tells his fashion story at Hyères Festival masterclass

Charles de Vilmorin tells his fashion story at Hyères Festival masterclass

Translated by

Nicola Mira

Charles de VilmorinRochasGaleries Lafayette

Charles de Vilmorin – ph DM

de Vilmorin, who was born on Christmas day, has been approached by the Parisian department store group to work on the Christmas 2023 season, which will open on November 15. Galeries Lafayette has given de Vilmorin carte blanche, as it did in March with Simon Porte Jacquemus

The project is a good fit for de Vilmorin, who has always dreamed of becoming a theatre director. He is the son of an art teacher and a CFO working in the fashion industry, and has loved drawing since he was a child. He said he was “lucky to grow up in a family that was quite artistic and open to culture.” de Vilmorin decided to embark on a fashion career after watching shows by John GallianoDiorAlexander McQueen

de Vilmorin was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, grew up in Compiègne, and moved to Paris for a four-year course at the school of the Haute Couture Union Chamber, which has since merged into IFM, the French Fashion Institute. While he was looking for work after graduating, an art collector, who loved the graduation collection images de Vilmorin published on Instagram

“This enabled me to fund my first collection, the one with the colourful bomber jackets, which were so successful. It was the end of the [Covid] lockdown. I released the collection at the right time, people needed something like that. That collection was a real springboard for me. I designed it in one evening, choosing those colours and the androgynous faces. It was much more theatrical than my usual style, a way of expressing something, like a camouflaged outing. It was seen as something joyful, even if it isn’t entirely what I am,” said de Vilmorin, who acknowledged he has “always designed non-gendered characters, characters without roots, like aliens.”

The fresco created by Charles de Vilmorin for the Hyères Festival, pictured in situ at Villa Noailles – ph DM

de Vilmorin said he draws inspiration from music, art and his dreams. “Everything always starts with music. For me, it’s a very complementary [discipline], it’s what inspires me the most. I listen to something on a loop and then everything clicks, as it does for a director. I see the attitude, the colours, the silhouettes,” he said. Literature too inspires him, for example “strange, frightening poetry. Stories with weird characters that are also beautiful.” And he is inspired by painters of course, artists like Dali, OttoVilla Noailles

That first bomber jacket collection propelled de Vilmorin centre-stage, and he was immediately recognised by the French Fashion and Haute Couture Federation, which gave him a show slot at Paris Haute Couture Week. He was then appointed creative director of Rochas. But perhaps it all went too fast for a rookie like de Vilmorin, who struggled to find his feet at the luxury label, and threw in the towel after two years. “I quit because, honestly, I thought I wasn’t experienced enough for that. It was too early. But in those two years, I learned so much,” he said.

A choice that inevitably has a financial impact. Without disclosing details on his company’s financials, de Vilmorin said that he “has no business plan,” adding that “our team is quite small now.”  He concluded by saying that “I love couture, but I’m also dreaming of launching a ready-to-wear [line]. Today, I’m doing my best to remain as independent as possible. It’s a real adventure. Looking to the future isn’t easy. You must have belief.”

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