Julien Fournié is inspired by great female adventurers who go through the history of humanity and female emancipation. Explorers, ethologists or archaeologists, they prove themselves capable of roaming jungles and dancing waltzes. Their curiosity about the world, their thirst for independence and the quest for their own truth include the courage of disobeying social codes.
Whether they are discovering South America’s pre-Columbian civilizations, Africa’s scriptless tribes or the Sahara’s Berber and Tuareg arts, they give up nothing and neither reject the society from which they come, nor contradict the worlds they are exploring. Far from the masculine values that led to predation, via colonizing or evangelizing, their conquests advocate mutual discovery, acceptance of differences, mutual aid, sometimes at the cost of their own life. In addition to the expedition they have planned, organized and financed, they are constantly seeking the hidden meaning of the world, beyond appearances, genders and borders. Combining phlegm, enthusiasm and compassion, they adapt to everything, collect jewelry, tools, pottery, let nature transform them, and blend into the landscape without losing any panache.
Mastering the cut, the French couturier builds statement silhouettes around more casual attire, adorned with talisman-like embroideries or amulets as if collected from previous encounters and locations. Shapes are often structured with multiple strap belts, including bags or bandoliers which symbolize, for the discoverers of new territories, together with braid, an essential equipment. Far from any precise identification with a single geographic or ethnic origin, these ladies mix the elegance from their original lifestyle together with the fantastic treasures they have found on the way, in a personal interpretation, as far from communitarian ardor as from any indoctrinating spirit.
“Haute Couture and female explorers do share a taste for experience, pragmatism and encounters which established dogmas hardly encourage and often despise,” says Julien Fournié. “I am convinced that the search for freedom is our common point in order to imagine the world off the marketing of fame’s overbeaten track, as a way to save the planet and mankind.”
On the occasion of his House’s tenth anniversary, Julien Fournié pays tribute to women who derogate, transform and transcend the social codes which were designed to enclose their gender. Since the dawn of time, the most terrible spell was always cast on these ladies. When in grade of overcoming the limits which patriarchal cultures had imposed on them, female healers, alchemists or scholars, were systematically labeled evil, accused of witchcraft and burnt at the stake.
“I have always found witches more stimulating than repulsive,” says Julien Fournié. “Women called by that name do cultivate independence, possess a sense of adventure and stimulate the imagination, opening up to a magical world.”
Mastering every trick in the art of the cut, the French grand couturier modernizes into evil beauties the mythical silhouettes of witches, poisoners, gothic novels dames and film noir stars alike. High collar, embroidered shirtfronts on pleated chiffon blouses, are paired with long Edwardian skirts. In jackets, coats and “trompe-l’oeil“ coat dresses, the cut borrows from the military vocabulary the impeccable padded shoulders and apparent buttoning on the top. From the waistline downwards, fabric blooms into folded “basques” on jackets, and blossoms, in hemlines at ankle level, to allow marching with the right magnitude.
A jacket of knitted yarn mimics fur and mixes fringes with spikes to underline its wild animal aspect. Softened to perfection, precious leathers (python, alligator) sculpt busts and waistlines in black or midnight blue, unless they cinch them with graded animal scales in the tones of auroras.
Ravens and other birds of misfortune are summoned on headpieces, bonnet and “capeline”, via embroidered feathers, also woven in a remarkable version of the House’s iconic bag. The signature t-strap mules are decorated for the season with a contrasting tiara pattern on their tip.
“Haute Couture and magic do share a taste for the accumulated experience and the knacks of the trade. Official education often underrates and depreciates this kind of knowledge,” says Julien Fournié. “I am convinced that combining the empirical and the innovative is the best way to save nature, humanity, and change the world so that the free exultation of minds and bodies can never be associated again with devilish Sabbaths.”
Minerals -dark castings of basalt, bright fine sands brought from the Sahara by the wind- form the contrasting basis of the season’s color palette, enhanced by a cactus green, a bougainvillea pink and the blue of a saturated sky, as reflected in the natural pool hidden in an open cave.
Stimulated by the paths trodden earlier by the artist-architect Cesar Manrique to celebrate creative actions in harmony with the ecosystem, Julien Fournié delivers a collection made with fabrics exclusively composed with natural fibers. Every aspect in the French grand couturier’s collection breathes regained well-being, harmony and self-esteem.
The sensuality of silk drape, the soft touch of chiffon, the mystery of moire in geological fuses of gray are underlined with asymmetric drapings and straight pleats, to better mark body curves and either frame or caress bare skin. With fabrics molded close over shoulders, bust and waist, amplitudes are developing only from the hips to a hemline just above the ankle… cinched by the strap of the House’s signature T-bar heels.
Precious leathers (eel, reindeer, python) add to the voluptuousness of the collection. Ties and metalwork cinch the waistline, harness the shoulders, and occasionally strap the neck. Unusual cacti and chlorophyte algae are embroidered in luxurious embellishments. The lightness of a silk georgette flies in a scarf dress, whitewashed as with chalk, and adorned with the print designed by Julien Fournié to evoke the volcanic island, its strong colors, its singular palms.
A luxurious and casual chic spirit rules on the runway, the same one as in the parties organized in the 1960s by Cesar Manrique and Omar Sharif for their Hollywood friends, whom they welcomed for an exceptional leisure time in the incredible suites of decorated caves which they were using as mansions.
By combining telluric energy, summer atmosphere and casual elegance, “First Bliss” showcases a wardrobe conducive to pampering, toning, invigorating the summer of 2019 with self-respect and sincere compliance with the biophysical environment around.