Inspired by the Prohibition era, the present health crisis and the diversity that graces our world, young French designer Vincent Garnier Pressiat presented the first collection under his new label Pressiat during Paris Fashion Week AW21.
Now, Pressiat is presenting its debut collection, “Diamant de Nuit”, a name that translates to “Night Diamond”. Embracing gender-fluidity and the movement in our contemporary lives between heartbreak, rebirth, lockdown blues and the desire for freedom, he, in collaboration with photographer Gabriel Francez, artfully displays this powerful collection. Schön! spoke with both Pressiat and Francez about the collection and its accompanying imagery.
You recently had your first show at the Théâtre Daunou, where you were spotted by French fashion designer Michèle Lamy. Talk about that experience — what did it mean for you as an artist and designer?
Pressiat: As a young designer, it was a real pleasure to present my first collection in this theatre, the decor of which was designed by Jeanne Lanvin. This was important for me to do that at this time when our society is deprived of all freedom. It was like saying ‘no’ to that, and giving hope to life. I experienced it as a liberation from my repression. It was a moment of pure happiness where I was surrounded by all my friends.
My [first] meeting with Michèle Lamy was as an artist, Nikkria, where I collaborated with her. It was an honour. She is a strong and gentle woman who has always inspired me. She supported me in my process of creating my brand, and I cannot thank her enough. Thank you.
What inspired the idea of basing your work on the Prohibition era? What about this time stands out to you?
P: It is our health situation that inspired me to use the Prohibition Era as a main theme… It is a period that has always fascinated me with its desire for freedom and joy. There were underground bars, underground nightclubs, secret passages and the flourishing of Jazz. The volumes, the colours, the details and all of this era are a fascination for me. It was a postwar moment, with a desire to make the most of life’s pleasures. It was a moment of decadence.
How did you and photographer Gabriel Francez first discover each other? What drew you to his work?
P: I met him through a friend and we subsequently collaborated together on the set of Sextile’s “Hazing”. I was captured by his sensitivity to colour and his keen eye. We have inspirations in common and that made me want to work with him.
What about the work were you looking to capture with this photo shoot?
Francez: I wanted to capture another angle for Pressiat’s collection and was very inspired by the general ambiance, the theatre, backstage. I shot everything that caught my eye. We could really feel the vibe of “Diamant de nuit” in the Théâtre Daunou; that’s what I wanted to translate in the photos.
What influenced the idea of picking gender-fluid models for the photographs?
P: Myself. I am a fluid person, so it was for me unimaginable not to have models of all genders. Diversity is my greatest source of inspiration. They are a reflection of our current society, and it is important for me to represent them.
Let’s return to the clothes. What specific sources did you look to for inspiration?
P: I was especially inspired by the volumes and codes of the 1930s, twisted with a touch of rock and 1970s provocation. There are zazou silhouettes, with their pants and oversized jackets that I fitted until suffocating. “Oxford Bags” trousers from the 1920s. Victorian footwear grown to an extreme. Paul Poiret dresses and coats. I tried to transcribe our feeling in our society and its health crisis with lacing and bending taken to the extreme. A feeling of heartbreak, sensuality, strength and joy.
Some of these pieces seem very delicate, while others seem rather armour-like. How do you strike that balance in your work between “light and aggressive”? And why is exploring these ideas important to you?
P: In my opinion, I think it is very feline to be light and aggressive. We must feel light but ready to go face to face with anything. It is important because life obliges us to do this. We all have this duality inside us, and I find it important to have to show it through my creations.
What does your slogan, “Be yourself, dance with a star”, mean to you?
P: A hymn to life.
Follow Pressiat on Instagram.
photography. Gabriel Francez
styling. Vanille Verloes
models. Sam Quealy, Chadi, Dyna Dagger, Victor Weinsanto, Hugo, Idris, YEVE, Maxim Anselin + Edward Napoleon
make up. Dyna Dagger using MAC Cosmetics
hair. Kevin Jacotot
jewellery collaboration. Farès Hadj-Sadok + Gabriella Sambuy
show mise en scène. Manon Savary + Marc Zaffuto
production. OBO Global
assistant designer. Arthur Grenet
make up assistants. Benjamin Agoyer + Corentin Chotard
words. Anisa Sali