Interview Filep Motwary

It was already more than a year ago when Bruno Sialelli stepped into the Parisian fashion scene as the new creative director of Lanvin. At the moment he was practically unknown. Being the fourth designer in less than four years to enter the famous Parisian fashion house, this commitment is definitely raising the bar for Sialelli whose vision is much more youthful than his predecessors – Jarrar, Lapidus, and Ossendrijver– all who appeared to have failed to fill Lanvin’sshoes. Sialelli, who has past experience at Balenciaga, Acne, Paco Rabanne, and LOEWE under his belt, is taking both womenswear and menswear in an ambitious direction outside the pattern of the French bourgeoisie. In the midst of the second lockdown, both in Paris and Athens, and only a few days after the presentation of Lanvin’sSS2021 in Shanghai we are on a zoom meeting that was arranged by his team.

Filep Motwary: Hi, Bruno? Good morning!

Bruno Sialelli: I am sorry, I am a bit late. It is very nice to meet you.

Yes, you too! Congratulations on your work! I hope it’s ok to start with how Covid-19compels the fashion industry to a restart. How did you and Lanvin react to this emergency, and what is the lesson this emergency has taught you?

We had to deal with the rules that have come since the spring, like everyone else, and find our way to work and to creatively exchange with my studio team and particularly with the owner of the house. This was really the basis of our first processes. I haven’t actually seen my boss since it must be a year now, because they are in China and so there is a lot of new adjustments with this emergency to apply in order to keep track of everything. Was your question being more maybe on the creativity and the creative process?

That too, yes, but also I mean since we are all in lockdown and you need to work because you work in fashion so you need to produce these collections, you need to design and think of a beautiful next season or a sellable next season, correct? How pragmatic is this for you?

It is not easy! Yet, like all the other creative people, creative directors, designers, and every creative person out there are probably more used to challenging themselves. We compose in front of a situation and reinvent it, so obviously there have been a lot of difficulties, mostly technical, caused mainly by the isolation et Cetera. This new process is fun because spending the lockdown from home in addition to the government mobility rules that stop us from having a substantial social life, a complete social life actually pushes us to escape through our work – there is definitely a strong and creative urge to it. You are obliged to feed yourself with only what’s around you, in your apartment, in your place. There are no exhibitions, no concerts, no parties and you don’t meet any extra people. It’s a chance to invent stories with what you have around you. I see it as an exercise. With the lockdown, you discover that you have a specific time frame where you can do your research, process your collection, gather iconography et Cetera. I would say the first lockdown last spring worked nicely for me. It had a different kind of rush.

How so?

Well the rush for the design process, the definition of the designs that take time to improve and to… yes, so there is that side too (laughs). And, as well I think the main expectation with it is how designer and a fashion house can anticipate the close future? This question was raised from early on.I think certain brands and creative directors or designers are addressing what has happened from a political perspective and perhaps they are heading into expressing a certain heaviness or a certain alarm towards society. With Lanvin, it has been quite natural to propose a solution that is more about escaping, about finding optimism in the ways the future will arrive you look at patterns from the past, from human clothing history, you can easily see how crises or any wars that took place, have been true opportunities for creativity but also for the economy to thrive. It’s a moment where we can really learn from the past by looking at past fashions