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Designer Julien David runs apart from the young crop of French designers, perhaps because he is based in Japan which clearly influences his French sensibilities as his collections are a blend of quirky creativity with pared down serenity. ‘Yeti wool’ trousers and houndstooth suits with matching wool headbands really shouldn’t have worked but he pulled it off and AW12 highlights came towards the end of the collection where six tomboy chic looks injected humour to the close of the show. i-D hopped backstage directly afterwards to ask just what exactly is ‘Yeti Wool’?
There were three or four different girls in that collection, it definitely moved through stages… Yes, it was kind of a story actually, going from outdoors and slowly moving towards urban settings. I wanted to use outdoor references but in a subtle way not necessarily making a big puffa jacket like that but using the quilting technique to make a dress out of it or using a pattern and making a cocktail skirt out of it. Pushing sportswear which is a big theme in fashion at the moment… Yes but in an elegant way. What were the knives on the cute knits all about? I like the idea of danger in the outdoors and cities and I wanted to represent that with the Yeti so you had the hunter and then the Yeti on the runway which was represented by the wool we developed which has what looks like little hairs or cactus poking out. The collection looked very creative… Yes but we also focus on developing a lot of our fabrics in Japan. Does this affect the time you have left to create with these new fabrics? We begin the design process with fabrics, it takes two months. Where’s your atelier and how many are you? It’s in Tokyo and we’re two people. Why Tokyo? I went for one year, I fell in love with it and have stayed six years, life is very organised and smooth. In Japan there’s a market, you can have a business there, all the artisans, all of my shoes are made in Japan too, there are all kinds of fabric makers that specialise in cotton, silk or wool. You discuss nature in this collection but are you connected to nature in a big metropolis like Tokyo… You know the Japanese are more connected to seasons and nature than anywhere else I’ve ever been. They have holidays to mark the seasons like and people really care about it, the seasons are important to them, I like that.
Text: Sarah Hay
Photography: Mitchell Sams