Pressiat’s Powerful Women
By Paul McLauchlan
It’s one thing for a young designer to burst onto the scene with a transgressive and dissident perspective that challenges preconceptions around gender, the body, and fashion. It’s another for a young designer to distill that eccentricity and emotion into a commercially viable operation with longevity after a few seasons. For Spring-Summer 2024, Vincent Garnier Pressiat attempted to reconcile that predicament without losing sight of his initial inspiration.
The Pressiat muse — the femme fatale, the diva, the working girl — is seductive as they come, her confidence unmatched. However, in a mostly strict palette of black and white, evocative of the quintessential Parisienne, her look is also resolutely mature. Oversized jackets and coats are cinched at the waist with corset detailing visible in the back, while wool satin tailoring and longline leather jackets play into the designer’s developing style. A punkish turn unfolds with ’90s-inspired bomber jackets and kilts, while flashes of fuchsia and violet imbue the collection with a rebellious yet saccharine streak. Of course, the femme fatale can’t resist a flesh-bearing bodycon dress, especially given that the show’s venue is a Parisian nightclub. One senses that Pressiat is reminding us that life gets most exciting after dark.
“I love a self-assured woman who is afraid of nothing, and I create clothing for her to be most comfortable so she can take on the world,” said Pressiat over Zoom from his Paris apartment.
What was the initial inspiration for Spring-Summer 2024?
This season, I wanted to change the [preconceptions about the brand]. You will see a new direction. It will be more accessible and commercial. At the beginning, it was very eccentric, dramatic. Now, we want this strength to come from within and to take Pressiat from day to night. However, as always, this season starts with the powerful woman. It’s very much about the bourgeois Parisienne, the people from the 16ème arrondissement, but with a little sensuality. To me, Pressiat is about women who can be very comfortable in their skin wearing strong jackets and dresses. Every season, I want them to be confident in their clothes because we live in a difficult society that they need to be well-equipped for.
How do you begin creating a collection?
I’m always driven by visuals [as they relate to] the image of the brand. I love to play with a collage of references. From there, I create the silhouettes that will define the season. When it comes to fabrics, it could be as simple as some details I see in the street or when I see my friends and it can relate back to the story of the collection. I wonder: what if we mix certain fabrics, destroy other fabrics, stitch fabrics together – all the ways we can play with different fabrics. It’s always about what I feel at the moment.
What is the most difficult aspect of creation?
I think the most difficult part of the process right now is to find the next thing because there are so many clothes out there.
To what extent does commerciality play a role in the creation of a new collection?
I don’t always create with commerciality [in mind]. I worked with John Galliano at Maison Margiela Artisanal. It was eccentric, there were no limits, and we never had to think about being commercial. When I started to work on my own collection, I wanted to keep it like that. But it’s difficult in current times with the cost of living crisis because we need to be more commercial. Of course, you will still get something dramatic from me.
This interview has been lightly edited.