Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Quote from WWD: WWD: What inspired you for your return to the Paris catwalk?
P.C.: Showing that the brand still exists as a creative force — that’s what drives me. And I notice that what I do early on becomes commercial some 15 or 20 years later. I’m always ahead of the curve.
WWD: Do you still have a lot of demand for couture?
P.C.: Our clients are very elegant and very faithful. The global clientele for haute couture has declined, but I must have around 100 customers a year who buy three, four, five or six dresses at a time. They are very discreet women who want to remain out of the spotlight. We don’t sell ready-to-wear here [at the flagship Paris boutique located at 27 Avenue de Marigny]. Everything you see in the windows is haute couture, and the dresses are made in our atelier here. I have some 80 seamstresses working for me, including around 50 in my factory in Châteaurenard, which acts as an extension of the atelier here because I don’t have enough space. Given my age, a lot of them have been with me for at least 30 years. I don’t produce seasonal collections, because as you can see, I sketch very quickly. I can do 100 sketches per hour!
WWD: You also plan to stage a show in New York in October. Why?
P.C.: My aim is to boost my sales in the U.S. and to raise my profile among young people. Since I don’t get a lot of press coverage, young people don’t know who I am. I want to show them I am still avant-garde and that I produce original designs, and I also want to help my licensees, who rely on my creativity, after all. Unfortunately, they produce very classic outfits for men. I wish they picked up my designs. Instead, they produce this fusty, bourgeois stuff. It drives me to desperation, because I bring them my original designs to copy. That is the purpose of their licenses. I don’t know why, they just won’t do it. We really need someone to drum up new licenses there. They could make a killing, because my designs are very youthful. All you see is these old Hart Schaffner Marx suits for old men. It makes me ashamed to even look at them. We haven’t made much of an effort there, I have to admit it’s partly my fault. Business is strong; it’s not a small country. I make a lot of money, but not as much as I should. It’s not about making money, of course, but about having a presence. I am ambitious, you understand.”
WWD: Have you ever considered hiring a young designer to revitalize your brand?
P.C.: No, because I have five people sketching for me who are very young. And I think the young designers of today are less avant-garde than I am. I’m still in good shape, I work every day."
He is 88 years old. How impressive is this. Truly an Inspiration to keep on being an artist.
(image and source WWD)