TALK WITH VALENTIN LESSNER, WINNER OF THE LE19M MÉTIERS D’ART PRIZE
Can you give me three words to describe your experience currently at the Festival of Hyères ?
Unexpected, pretty warm but super beautiful.
What advice would you give for any young designers who are kind of hesitating if they are good enough, or if they should apply ? What would you give to your younger self if you have to speak to them ?
It sounds cheesy but stay with what inspires you, what drives you, what you’re interested in. I think it's common for a designer to always question yourself and your work. But as I said, I think the most important thing is to stay authentic and just simply maybe do what also emotionally drives you, not be scared to only show the side that maybe you won’t show to someone else because you think that it’s private.
Did you have personal confrontations about the monsters ?
I grew up in Bavaria so yes, basically about the Bavarian culture itself like folklore, traditional things. People always think of the Oktoberfest and I love to take this kitschy imagined twist that I grew up with into a darker vision, in a more contemporary way.
Who is your dream designer ?
It’s kind of a tough question ! I used to work for Christian Poell and I love the vision because it’s everything based on a product so it’s more like the attempt to focus more about the garment itself, the construction and the durability rather than just marketing. That’s what I can also recommend : designers are here to focus more on the product itself. I think at a certain point : where is this all going to end ? We’ve seen shows that are beautiful but is it really about the clothes anymore ? That’s what I was questioning.
You worked with one of Chanel's Métiers d'Art based at LE19M. Who was your one ?
My one was Montex. I was super happy to work with them. It was fun because I didn't see myself doing embroidery. It was interesting because I pretty much love the cultural heritage or craftsmanship they built upon generations and you just always try to make it better.
How was the process ?
In the beginning, we were trying to look for certain ways to do things. There is this folklore tradition where people dress up as furry monsters to drive away evil in Germain villages, in the Winter they try to exorcize bad spirits. From there I was working with Montex, trying to find other techniques to make it more contemporary or fitting to my personal studies. So I’m happy that they came off like this
Do you want to continue your own collection with your own name or one day would you like to join a big fashion house ?
I feel like, at the moment, I'm more open to work for a company, I don't mind taking on other people's aesthetics. I just want to be focused on the product, maybe that’s what I can bring.