What led you to begin your studio?
Ultimately, the deeply touching journey of a close friend. Until this day, it acts as a reminder of the incredibly healing power lingerie can have. After struggling with the scars and deformations of multiple surgeries due to breast cancer, she never fully learnt to appreciate her feminine self again. When trying on a hand-crafted piece of lingerie and spontaneously joining a shoot I organized at her family home, she dropped her self-doubt and genuinely enjoyed being captured on camera amongst the other professional models. Seeing how simply putting on a beautiful set of lingerie enables to re-discover the love you have for your body and to let go of unrealistic ideals was the most powerful and emotional experience I have yet witnessed. My mission and goal since is to pass on what she felt this very moment, and hope to continue to inspire and empower women with what I create.
How would you describe the process of creating your lingerie collection regarding the emotional effect on the wearer?
For me, the design process always starts on the female form. Drawing up something in 2D in just pen and paper or on the computer can be rewarding as well but it feels very limiting and impersonal to me. Through draping fabrics and lace on the female form, studying how it falls, how it curves around the body and ultimately observing the movement of the garments when coming to life on the body allow me to create a feeling associated with the piece. When it comes to the emotional layer to my work, I like to use my creations as a medium to tell a story, which ultimately links back to self-love. My latest collection explored the power of scars and how they represent a vulnerable version of us, yet define our true beauty. Each creation explored the authenticity of imperfections as a reminder that we do not get through life unharmed.
In your works, there is a combination of design and eroticism. How do you maintain this thin line between sensual and vulgar design?
As I intend to design pieces that are suitable for outerwear styling, I create a play with sheerness and opacities in a way that still feels modest, yet teasing and alluring. The use of my ultra sheer mesh allows to create an endless array of patterns that appear to seamlessly blend into the skin, as if simply drawn on like a temporary tattoo. At the same time, many collection items are designed to be layered upon each other.
You predominantly work with lace. What fascinates you about lace?
I am truly fascinated by the traditional crafting process of authentic French lace and exclusively use laces produced by thus family businesses located in the north of France. Furthermore, I love the art of fabric manipulation and creating my own textiles. The technique of lace appliqué allows me to be highly creative in the way I combine and create new patterns derived from one or multiple laces combined. It also opens up room to play with different textures and stimulates the tactile senses by combining textiles with different haptic characteristics.
How difficult is it to produce lingerie in a mindful way towards our planet?
Due to the complexity of lingerie and amount of components needed to produce a single garment, it is a challenging process to source a sustainable option for each. To put this in perspective, an average bra design from my collection requires the use of approximately 15 different components/trims/fabrics in order to merge Couture aesthetics with comfort, support and fit. For an independent lingerie brand such as HERVÉ with a small-scale, on-demand production, an additional challenge is to access high-quality materials in small quantities without compromising on quality and the way they have been produced and sourced. Even though these challenges often require creative and unconventional solutions, it is a highly rewarding process after all.
What would be the ultimate success you would like to achieve?
I would love for HERVÉ to become more than ‘just’ a lingerie brand. My dream is to create a platform, a world, that women can turn towards to feel empowered or simply when they need a little reminder of who they are and the strength they hold within. I guess it is taking the feeling of self-appreciation through falling in love with your own body one step further on a more spiritual level.
Our last question pertains to our current theme, FULL OF DESIRE. What do you think the customers desire from fashion nowadays?
Based on my personal observations both within my brand and as a consumer, I see an increasing demand in the personalization of goods and clothing. I highly cherish this movement as it indirectly requires more brands to move away from pre-produced stock items to the more ethical made-to-order policy. Furthermore, even though sustainability is said to be a buying factor for many, I feel that it is now more than before that customers actually dare to ask the right questions and expect brands to be unapologetically honest about the ethics behind their brand rather than being satisfied with loose pieces of information that are provided online simply to tick a box.