PARIS — Charles de Vilmorin is ready for his next act: a ready-to-wear line.
His eponymous label will make its debut for fall 2024 at the upcoming Sphère showroom, the emerging designer showcase run by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.
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“I may give the impression of preferring couture and crazy silhouettes but ready-to-wear is something that’s always spoken to me and inspired me a lot,” he told WWD exclusively. “They’re really complementary and when I look at brands I like, they’re often older labels that had both.”
The French designer, a graduate of the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, emerged during the pandemic thanks to an eye-catching line of patchwork quilted bomber jackets inspired by artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
A slew of accolades followed: a spot among the 2021 finalists of the LVMH Prize for Young Designers, another on the ANDAM’s shortlist, and participation in the GucciFest online festival. Rochas tapped him as creative director shortly after the launch of his brand, with his first collection for the house bowing in September 2021.
He credits his two-year tenure at Rochas for giving him a deeper understanding of how to develop a rtw lineup, while his recent experience as the guest designer for the Galeries Lafayette’s 2023 festive season helped develop his sense of product.
“Since all these little capsules worked really well, it was time I gave it a go,” he said.
Although de Vilmorin is best known for eye-catching couture creations with surreal touches, he leaned toward a cleaner silhouette here.
“Those are shapes I know I would reach for all my life,” he said. “I want to lay the foundation of my wardrobe for this first time, then have things evolve around that, step by step.”
Cue a 25-piece lineup that will include three dresses, denim shorts, shirting, a trenchcoat and, of course, new takes on his bomber jackets. “I think they still have a bit of life in them,” he joked.
There will also be a handful of printed scarves, which will further develop the season’s narrative, inspired by a poem by French author George Sand that hides a secret: the love letter turns into something much more risqué when skipping every other line when reading.
The Paris-based designer wanted to favor “beautiful, natural, noble materials rather than add ruffles and volumes,” so the fall collection will be centered around silk, silk taffeta and cottons, including poplins and denims sourced through Supima. The designer has been a regular of the Supima Design Lab for the past three years.
Entirely made in Paris, the line is expected to retail around 500 euros for a printed shirt in cotton poplin and under 2,000 euros for a voluminous trench with a silk taffeta lining.
In coming seasons he’ll be introducing knitwear and is already weighing his options for further categories, such as footwear.
If anything, de Vilmorin intends his first collection to read as an open invitation. “People can be part of my universe without wearing a horse on their head or having a six-meter train,” he said. “What allows me to be this creative can be accessible.”
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