Contextualization and volumes are AVOC’s forte. An acronym that stands for Architecture Vestimentaire and Ornement Corporel (dressing architecture and bodily ornament), AVOC is the Parisian poster child for the current androgynous and minimalistic fashion trend. Each collection revolves around a unique concept and features a matching set design. Structured materials and geometrical shapes meet a limited colour range and oversized silhouettes in functional and essential clothing. Bearing signs of the quintessentially French je ne sais quoi, AVOC is fast carving its name on the galaxy of rising stars within the buzzing Parisian fashion scene. Here is our conversation with Bastian Laurent and Laura Do, the designing duo behind the brand.
Tell us about your story. Where did it all start?
It all started back in 2012 in Amsterdam. Bastian was working at “Wieden + Kennedy” creative agency, while Laura moved between Paris and Amsterdam as a freelance interior designer and decorative painter. Late night conversations about interior design and fashion brought about concrete plans for the brand. First we would imagine bizarre installations and then focus on drafting dresses. At some point, we would finally start drawing silhouettes and the matching installations. Laura’s experience with patternmaking and fashion design definitely facilitated the job. We later relocated to Paris and officially established AVOC. Showcasing our first collection at the Designers Apartment showroom has been an important milestone.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
We aim to find a creative synergy among interior design, scenery and clothing. Our designs are quite architectural and made of structured fabrics, which helps convey subtle references to decorative arts. Some of the more conceptual pieces are at the crossroads of industrial and fashion design - they are meant to fit a body, but can also stand on their own, as inanimate objects to be admired.
How does your research process, if you have one, feed into the actual designing practice?
We try to create an unending conversation between our interior design projects and the collections. Our research process and choices - such as colours, materials and volumes, respectively impact both our fashion and artistic practices. We also draw inspiration from the work of architects, interior designers and scenographers we admire. Admittedly, like most designers, we tend to develop a specific sensibility that allows us to find inspiration everywhere around us.
Do you approach menswear and womenswear differently?
Despite the fact that both womenswear and menswear lie on a common ground of formal designing methods, our collections carry signs of a marked masculine aesthetic. However, it is very important for us to develop a different yet consistent approach to designing womenswear. We would say that menswear focuses on functionality and comfort, while womenswear is probably more conceptual in terms of volumes and fabrics.
AVOC is a bridge between clothing and decorative arts. How do you feel fashion and architecture, or design, sit together?
Such disciplines all involve a reflection on volumes, colours, textures and functionality, so they can perfectly engage in a mutual exchange. We tried to develop an analogous process to design both interiors and fashion. All our projects rely on emotions and narration. We start working on a collection or scenery with a precise idea of the story we want to tell and the emotions we want to instil. The research and creative efforts behind either a set design or a fashion collection mutually inform each other, leading to a productive synergy between the two fields.
What are your biggest influences both in fashion and interior design?
Architects such as Kenzo Tange, Oscar Niemeyer and interior designer Jean Michel Frank can perhaps be identified as our most significant sources of inspiration. However, when it comes to fashion, movie costumes and theatre scenographies might get an upper hand on contemporary fashion designers.
What do you feel is your role as a fashion designer in contemporary society?
As a fashion brand, we want to allow people to express themselves by wearing something different from the ordinary. It can be fun and motivating to consider our work as a potential medium to express our minds. It can also be dramatic and violent – which is why we rely on two creative outputs: clothing and interior design. If we can’t express something with a dress, we make sure we do so in the installation that goes with it.
What would you like to achieve this year?
This year will be fairly important for AVOC. We have initiated a collaboration with Galeries Lafayette in Paris as well as Centre Commercial. We also aim to perfect our current designs and give even more depth to our collections. Scenography-wise, we have proudly completed an incredible space for the ready-to-wear tradeshow “Who’s Next” in Paris. We definitely want to impose AVOC’s designs on the fashion radar and grow as a fashion brand in the following years.