Androgyny in the form of a clothing brand. Marine Escurat takes inspiration from masculine wardrobes and puts forward a chic and effortless style with les Garçonnes.
Marine, tell us a bit about yourself. What was your background before les Garçonnes?
I was born in Caen 31 years ago. Destined to a career in science or sport, I always felt a desire to express myself through being creative. As a child, I loved being hands-on with various creative/manual activities such as painting, sculpture, and of course sewing! It was alongside my grandmothers, one a dressmaker and the other a lover of fashion, that I developed my artistic side and my passion for fashion. My need for freedom led me to move to London once I had obtained my baccalauréat. This independence opened me up to new perspectives.
I moved to Paris to begin my studies in fashion design at Mod’Art International School. It was there that I met my “parents” in the trade, my guides and my mentors: the directors of the school. After being taught by them for 3 years and gaining their trust, they sent me to Madrid for 2 years as a teaching director and fashion professor. Upon returning to Paris, I worked as a freelance stylist and textile designer for various men’s and women’s ready-to-wear brands. This experience pushed me to create my first pair of trousers. Finally, in 2016 I launched my first collection for les Garçonnes.
How was les Garçonnes created?
Ever since I was old enough to dress myself, all I wanted to wear were trousers… Perhaps subconsciously, like a symbol of empowerment. Les Garçonnes was built in stages.
The first stage is a key date for me: in 2013, to my surprise I learned that “French women finally have the legal right to wear trousers!” with the abolition of a law which prevented the “cross-dressing of women” – a law dating back to the 7th November 1800 which states that “any woman who wishes to dress as a man should present themselves to the police to obtain authorisation”. This law made me aware of what trousers represented and still continue to represent.
The second stage was discovering my grandmother’s trouser collection in her attic. It was the best discovery – these pleated, high-waisted trousers, made in France during the 50’s – 80’s – which went on to influence and spark my imagination. And that was how, thanks to my grandmother and my adventurous soul, I decided to launch my own brand inspired by masculine tailored trousers from the 20’s to present day. I am still fascinated by the post-war era, a symbol of absolute freedom defended by the women who started the “garçonnes” movement in the 1920’s.
By adopting the habits of men, they became precursors of the empowerment movement and women’s freedom. I admire these free and daring women so much.
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a “garçonne”… as proved by the name of the brand.
How do you build a collection?
Trousers are timeless, I don’t follow trends, but I prioritise quality, comfort and detail before everything else. I find inspiration by observing the streets and current artistic movements. I spend time at my suppliers to immerse myself in the rolls of fabric, looking for comfort, colour, weight and texture according to the new pieces that I have in mind. Once I have a design in mind, I work on creating the pieces with my designer.
What is your favourite piece from this season?
Le Simone, for Simone de Beauvoir.
Tell us about your experience at the Who’s Next trade show… how long have you been participating there? What opportunities has the trade show given you?
Being at the Who’s Next trade show 3 times has allowed me to build a strong and trusting relationship with the buyers who come to view the collection. As young designers, we are locked up in our creative spaces everyday. We need to do the trade shows to see first-hand which products work the best. A true showcase for young designers, over the years this trade show has become an essential meeting place for buyers and young designers.
Any funny stories from the trade show?
At the Who’s Next parties I broke my record for number of glasses of champagne in one night. As well as being good, it’s free!
Any advice for those who are launching a brand and who want to participate at the Who’s Next trade show to get their name out there?
I believe it’s necessary to do the trade show. The experience is a godsend for young brands to directly evaluate their products and analyse buyers’ expectations. The designer can explain their process and promote their creations to buyers, and judge their feedback on different products.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I let myself be guided by my lucky stars.
Interview in collaboration with Inside Closet. Read the full article here.