Today's fashion world seems to be opting more and more for the sort of minimalism that we haven't seen for a long time. Or, at the very least, simplified palettes of shades to the extreme. That is why, as soon as someone refuses this principle, we feel obliged to observe and question how they have dared to go beyond it. It happened to us a few months ago when we interviewed Yinglin He, and now again encountering Jude Ferrari
This twenty-seven-year-old designer from France is making a strong statement by bringing us back to joy and maximalism. Her line is reminiscent of the kitsch aesthetics of the 70s and 80s and I would almost go as far as to say that it approaches the mentality of Warhol or Hamilton. Since, her work has a deeper, more direct, and sharper undercurrent that coexists perfectly with this eagerness for action.
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Hi Jude, correct me if I’m wrong. You studied at Central Saint Martins but are from Paris. Why did you decide to move to London?
Because Central Saint Martins is one of the best fashion schools in the world, there is no equivalent in terms of creativity! And I had the best time of my life there, so I have absolutely no regrets.
I read somewhere that you come from quite a conservative family hence you didn’t really consider becoming a fashion designer until later in life. Could you expand on this?
Indeed, I am from a small town super close to Paris but it’s known as a conservative neighbourhood. I wanted to be a TV presenter until I was 18. So, I even studied Politics and Journalism for a while. One day my father, who was a valedictorian at Harvard and a valedictorian at the equivalent school in Paris, told me: “why do you plan to do this crappy job when you could do something you truly love, such as art or fashion?” It changed my life.
As soon as we get into the brand’s website, we can see you describing it as a cronut –a mix between Parisian elegance and non-French eccentricity. Was this idea something you thought of during your stay at that Fashion School or something you came across over time?
It is my aesthetic that I describe as a cronut! It was during my time at university that I figured out that all my projects and collections had kind of the same DNA. Always, it has a humorous twist but still is elegant and chic. And because I’m a sugar addict, the metaphor came to me naturally (laughs).
You are sponsored by Swarovski, which means that they allow you to work with a part of their stock, but when did it happen? What was that moment like?
It started in 2019 during my final year at Central Saint Martins. I contacted them with a portfolio and my project, to offer them a collaboration between them and me. Trying to be as sustainable as I could. The aim was to use dead stock or crystals they can’t use or stopped using.
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This Fashion Week season, you presented your latest collection Dimanche, for Spring/Summer 2022. What’s the reason behind the name?
The collection is inspired by the fresh food market in my hometown Neuilly sur Seine. It takes place every Sunday. Since I was a kid, I have been going there every Sunday with my mum. I love its atmosphere and the spectacle it offers.
I was asking that because you presented this collection at the Neuilly Sur Seine Market, which isn’t really a place known for its glamorous clients. Why did you choose that space and what did you want to convey?
The clients are so glamorous. Well, some of them! I was inspired by the sellers of each stand, their bleu de travail [uniform], but mainly by the customers. Half of them are wearing what we commonly call Sunday outfits nowadays, which are joggers, a baggy t-shirt, and whatever you feel comfy in. The other half, respect what we used to call habit du dimanche; the outfit you wore to go to the church. Very fancy, polished, and classy. So, in the same market, you meet people who just finished their Sunday run and people that are wearing massive fur jackets and fancy gowns.
And finally, what I love in this market is the peaceful, and loving atmosphere. Everybody seems happy and almost friends (which is truly not the vibe of this neighbourhood the rest of the week).
I wanted to convey that you can find inspiration from everything, everywhere, and any human. Sometimes, things you thought are useless or even, is a blemish can be the root of strength.
Your work seems to be inspired by what is commonly understood as everyday life. Normally, the fashion world tends to have a very Andy Warhol-esque view of the every day and often appeals to brands of cereal or soup. However, from the beginning you have gone beyond that – your graduation collection dealt with the scarring on your father's skin after a complicated surgery. Could you tell us more about that?
My father was hit by a truck when he was 11. To save his legs, the surgeon had to take the skin from his back and butt to sew it to his legs. But it was very experimental at that time, and he did not know how to sew. The scars he got from this surgery he kept all his life. I wanted to make something beautiful from it. Scars tell stories, like tattoos. When he woke up from being 2 months in a coma, his mum told him he was a superhero now. I loved this image and I wanted to translate it into my collection as well. We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyse them out of existence, ban them, kill them, mock them, and still, they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.
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On your TV appearance, which you’ve uploaded on your Instagram page, we can see you talk about how you create your garments – amongst other topics. Could you talk to us a bit more about this?
I love to incorporate smocks in all my collections. Smocks are made with an old machine from the 19th century. It gathered the fabric and created beautiful textures. With this technique, you can create new volumes, distorted prints, and a new way of designing. It is very refined and delicate. I like this jewellery and the precious feeling it gave to the garment.
You’ve taken part of magazines such as Spur in Japan and Vogue US, what do you think is the nexus of fashion worldwide? What do you think helps fashion to be an understandable global language?
I do think each country has its own fashion sense, aesthetic, and trends. But I think the nexus between them is that fashion is a way of expressing yourself, as if your body is a white frame, you build a landscape with shapes and colours. It’s a great way of speaking without saying a word.
The next show you are preparing will be held in October and you plan to do it in person because you think digital shows lack a certain energy coming from the public itself. How was it navigating through Fashion Week during the 2020 ordeal?
The last show was already in person, and it was such a joy! In 2020, it was a bit weird but funny to do. I think it was the funniest catwalk I have done. We were so chill. We had time, for example, to redo each catwalk model, re-shoot some parts of the show and the model had time to dress without any rush. So this was really appreciable. But as I said in another interview, a show without the public is like a football game without supporters, it is so sad.
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